The Test India should finally ace

A preview of the India-Australia Test Series like no other – through Impact Index



The bowling, on the other hand, does not inspire confidence.

 

Tests

Bowling
IMPACT in
the last 2
years

Top/middle
Order
Wkts
IMPACT

Lower
order
Wkts
IMPACT

Pressure
Building
IMPACT

Economy
IMPACT

Efficiency
IMPACT

Ashwin

3

3.53

2.8

0.37

0.11

0.23

0.22

Zaheer

11

2.44

2.06

0.24

0.06

0.01

0.13

Yadav

2

2.14

1.68

0.24

0.06

0

0.16

Ishant

22

1.39

1.33

0.18

0.04

0.04

-0.27



Interesting that Ashwin leads the count on everything – wickets, pressure-building, economy and
efficiency. He has had a very promising start in international cricket; his first overseas Test tour could well
be the making of him.

However, it is useful to remember that Zaheer Khan is India’s highest impact Test player bar none (not
even one of the batsmen in that fabled bunch goes ahead of him) in the last two years. His breakdown in
the first Test in England led to India’s decimation in the series – and the story may be quite the same here
– that is the extent to which this team relies on him.

With Praveen Kumar injured and Harbhajan Singh dropped, the rest of the Indian bowling is
inexperienced and untested. Ashwin and Yadav have both shown promise but to expect them to be
amongst the two main bowlers is irrational optimism. If Zaheer is not at full throttle in this series, India’s
chances drop considerably – no rocket science here.

Ishant Sharma, unfortunately, is the weakest link in this Indian team. A few showboat spells (most
famously the one to Ponting in 2008) have unfortunately camouflaged his overall ineffectiveness (though his
bowling average of 36 does give a slight indication of it). His poor Bowling IMPACT of 1.39 is highly
indicative of his ineffectiveness.

It is not a good situation for India that he has the responsibility of bearing the load of India’s second-most
important bowler in this team. Impact Index suggests he was lucky to make this tour – he should have
been dropped, so that he could have perhaps aligned his discipline and hunger to his obvious talent.

Umesh Yadav has been promising in the 3 Tests he has played – with IMPACT numbers to back that. He
will enjoy the conditions in Australia but it is his mental strength and discipline that will determine whether
his current Bowling IMPACT figure (an impressive 2.14) flatters to deceive or not.

R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha have both had good starts to their career but they are largely untested yet.
Moreover, in Australia, it is not clear how they would use the conditions. R Ashwin will certainly make the
starting eleven in the first Test. There may be a case to use both spinners (at least for/from the 2nd Test in
Sydney) – not a common occurrence in Australia but the faster guys just may not be good enough for
India.

India’s Bowling IMPACT is 1.91 (four bowlers).

However, if Zaheer Khan is removed (and replaced by say, Mithun), it drops to an alarming 1.61. This only
underlines how critical Zaheer Khan is for India.

Meanwhile, if India choose to replace Ishant Sharma with Ojha in Sydney, with Zaheer still in the team,
India’s Bowling IMPACT goes up to an exponential 2.73 – this considerable rise may make it worth taking
the risk of playing an extra spinner who may or may not bowl to his current impact level in Australian
conditions.

There are seven series defining performances amongst just these 11 players in two years, which is
outstanding. It reflects how strong India’s Test performances have been lately (except in England). Six of
these have come from batsmen, which tells its own story as well.

Pagination

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