Once again, Indian bowling, particularly fast bowling, is in absolute shambles. In last three One-Day Internationals (ODIs), the Indian bowler have conceded 304 (6.14), 359 (7.18) and 304 (6.08) respectively. Now, many would argue that, pitches used were more suitable for batting and even the Australian bowlers too went for plenty. No denying that. But is that the only reason behind India’s abysmal bowling effort? Certainly not!
Bowling has not been India’s forte in recent years, but to concede 300-plus in three successive matches is as bad it can get. The biggest problem with India’s bowling attack is the absence of a spearhead. Ishant Sharma has played 68 ODIs and 51 Tests, he hasn’t been able to take up the responsibility, and, in fact, he is battling to keep his place in the playing XI at the moment. On the other hand is Ravichandran Ashwin, the frontline spinner with 61 ODIs under his belt, who is also not in good form. When two of the most experienced bowlers in the eleven are struggling, the team is bound to struggle as well.
Apart from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja, all other Indian bowlers have been treated roughly. The Indian bowlers have looked clueless in the later part of the innings.
Now, there is no immediate solution to this problem. There is a shortage of quality fast bowlers in India, and whatever is there are also plagued by injuries. In the prevailing situation, all eyes will be on Zaheer Khan to make a comeback.
Zaheer is an intelligent bowler who relies on old fashioned swing to trick the batsmen. And after his fitness regime in France, he is bowling at good speed as well. Zaheer’s inclusion in the team will lead to a better new ball attack. Zaheer is a master at swing the ball, and his partnership with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, is possibly the best combination India can hope to have at this moment.
One often sees James Anderson and Dale Steyn having long, detailed discussions with their bowling partners. This on-field advice results in the grooming of young players. Over the years, we have seen Zaheer doing this role for India. His presence at mid-off or mid-on offering advice to the bowlers would mean a lot to the team.
In the ODIs ahead, Shami Ahmed, Jaidev Unadkat and Amit Mishra should be given a go. They have all come through the ranks and have good First-Class experience. Mishra has had a decent outing in Zimbabwe and he has done everything to deserve a place in the team. It’s imperative MS Dhoni shows the necessary confidence in the youngsters biding their time in the sidelines.
This article was first publsihed in CricketCountry