It has taken me close to 15 minutes to go ahead with this post simply because, I am unable to collect a handful of fast bowlers who could potentially book their seats on that flight to Australia for the world cup in 2015. When I say ‘fast bowlers’, I mean the bowlers who bowl in the early 140s and going upwards and that is where I believe, India is in serious jeopardy of not having the right kind of bowlers to make use of those fast and bouncy pitches in Australia and New Zealand.
His exclusion from the side for the ongoing one day series is bemusing for me, as much as it is to a lot of you out there. The lad hasn’t done poorly whenever he has adorned the Indian colors but probably, his challenger trophy performances didn’t convince Sandeep Patil and co. to accommodate him in the side. Or, on another front, Indian selection committee is making it clear that 2015 world cup is the target and are trying to build a team for it already.
With Umesh Yadav, he is always going to go for runs but in the bargain, if he can be consistent with his wicket taking abilities, then he is a must in any Indian side. Don’t forget his performances in a Test match at the WACA a couple of years ago, where he bagged a 5-for and asked questions of every Australian batsman who faced up to him. His figures were 17-2-93-5. Tells you something, isn’t it?
The lad is fit and more importantly, he’s a good fielder with a very good throwing arm which would be seriously handy on those massive turfs in Australia, where the slowness of a certain Unadkat and Vinay Kumar isn’t going to help Dhoni’s cause. Umesh Yadav, for me, is a certainty for the 2015 World cup irrespective of what he does in the build-up to it.
If any of you out there didn’t have an idea of what this 23 year old was capable of, he put up a demo show for you yesterday on a not so responsive Ranchi surface. He is quick, presents an Up-right seam, has a deceptive bouncer and more importantly, can get those yorkers in during the death overs. He is wobbly with his fielding prowess but Indian medium-pacers have never been of the pedigree of a certain Brett Lee, Dale Steyn, James Anderson and furthermore who are lightning quick on the field as much as their deliveries are.
He is just 23 and an extended run in the side can be a clear indicator of what more can he offer to Dhoni. I would love to see Umesh Yadav and Mohamed Shami bowling in tandem, would be a great sight if they can dish out their true potential and stay fit.
Yes, his bowling has been awful and has been found guilty of not making use of the chances provided to him, but I back him to come good sooner rather than later. Yes, the eye-brow raising spell to Ponting on that fine morning in Perth in 2007 is long gone and that alone cannot assure him a spot always but that’s where we need to be pragmatic and be patient with the lad.
I am sure he is putting in the hard yards and wants to do well but as of now, isn’t doing justice to what he is capable of when he gets his rhythm going. Why I would want him in Australia is because, he is the kind of bowler who yearns for conditions like the one which prevails in Australia, Pace and Bounce in the surface is very significant to the mindset of Ishant Sharma. Once he has a couple of good games under his belt, you will see his pace going up, a more up-right seam position and above all, he can enlighten you once he starts bowling well. I am sure he will be in the selectors’ minds but, the sad thing for him is, his performances prior to boarding the plane to Australia will matter big time.
Yes, pace isn’t everything for a medium pacer but in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s case, it’s difficult to convince yourself to the fact that he relies far too heavily on swing and seam and hence proves to be one-dimensional as far as his utility is concerned.
He is pretty consistent with his line and length but the dilemma with him is always going to be whether Dhoni can get 10 overs out of Bhuvneshwar Kumar on a great batting surface, where there isn’t a lot on offer for Kumar or does he look at him and say, 2 wickets for me with the new ball irrespective of whether he finishes his quota of 10 overs? If Dhoni can answer any one of those two questions, you got to believe, he can be a first choice bowler for India for a long time.
Mind you, India doesn’t get to play on pitches like the one in Edgbaston or the Kingsmead in Durban so, it’s highly imperative that Kumar adds a couple of yards of pace to his bowling. On current form and with whatever little we have seen of him, it would be unfair to leave him out for the World Cup in a year’s time and that’s why I slot him at No.4 in the shortlist of Indian fast bowlers for the 2015 Cricket world cup.
Siddarth Kaul/Rahul Shukla/Mohit Sharma
You would ideally need 5 fast bowlers and a specialist spinner as part of your bowling compartment for the World Cup taking into consideration that Jadeja keeps his place.
Siddarth Kaul is a deceptive bowler who can touch the early 140s every now and then and is a bit more quick than what Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is. In the past IPL edition for Rajasthan Royals, he opened the bowling a couple of times and was impressive. Bowled with good pace and also has the ability to move the ball both ways. It’s difficult to think whether Indian selectors have him in their minds and are they mindful of his capabilities. Sandeep Patil was present for the Duleep trophy final between South Zone and North Zone and before a premature end to day 2 proceedings, Siddarth Kaul castled Abhinav Mukund with a good in-swinger and I hope, Patil makes a note of it.
Rahul Shukla is another Rajasthan Royals’ product, who bowls at a good pace and can crank it up in to the 140s. He bowled one of the inspiring bowling spells in the recently concluded CLT20 2013 against Chennai Super Kings and in fact, went on to dismiss Dhoni. On a more amusing note, Shukla is from Jharkand, the home state of MS Dhoni.
He is rather inconsistent with his line and length but if you talk about a tearaway fast bowler, Rahul Shukla could well be on top of that list. If IPL is a recognized platform for Indian Selectors, they could well have a look at this lad in depth and he is young too.
Mohit Sharma was easily Chennai Super Kings’ most impressive bowler. He was an unknown commodity for a lot of IPL viewers but proved to be one of the sensations of IPL 6. He is limited with his capabilities but does move the ball around and will not fall into the category of a ‘FAST BOWLER’ but, if you are considering your options for the world cup in 2015, Mohit Sharma should certainly be part of your plans.
That is how much I have been able to pick up on some of the potential fast bowling talent across the country.
Nobody is sure if Zaheer Khan would return to the Indian side as its pace spearhead. Vinay Kumar, I wouldn’t say has it in him to cement a spot in the side, nor does he possess the capabilities that you want in a bowler for Australian conditions. We haven’t yet seen anything of Ishwar Pandey apart from his Ranji Trophy exploits and we don’t know whether he finds himself in the selectors’ scheme of things. Praveen Kumar also has been oblivious even to the greatest of Indian cricket followers, who keep themselves updated about Indian domestic cricket.
Hopefully, we will get to see a good fast bowling attack and not a medium pace bowling attack to take to the land of Kangaroos for defending our title. Good luck Patil and company.