Home > Features >

India Test squad for England tour 2014: Too many fast bowlers can act as hurdle

© Getty Images & PTI
India are taking along six frontline pace bowlers to England © Getty Images & PTI

After India toured England in 2011, they returned with their tails truly between their legs with a 4-0 defeat. Shiamak Unwalla analyses whether the excess baggage of fast bowlers is overkill for a short-of-confidence Indian Test team.

The last time India travelled to England, they arrived at the British Isles as the best Test side in the world and the recently crowned ODI champions. By the time they left, after over a month, they were battered and broken after losing all four Tests and three out of four completed ODIs (the other was a tie). They didn’t recover from the psychological scars for a very long time, and have not won a single Test match overseas since that series.

In that series, Zaheer Khan bowled 13.3 overs on the first days play and picked up two wickets. He then limped off the ground with an injury and had to return to India to recuperate. RP Singh was called up after India lost two games, and started off his comeback match with a wide ball aimed at where the seventh stump might have been.

Perhaps as cover for such an eventuality, India have gone to England with a shockingly high number of medium pace and fast bowlers. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Ishant Sharma, Varun Aaron, and Pankaj Singh are the six frontline pace bowlers in the Indian side. Then there is the medium-pace bowling all-rounder Stuart Binny.

Now, what is interesting is that each of these six pace bowlers are entirely different from each other. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is someone who likes to swing the new ball at a fairly decent clip. Mohammad Shami is much quicker, and gets good bounce while reverse swinging the old ball. Ishwar Pandey is someone who gets steep bounce while moving the ball at a fair pace. Ishant is someone who can really not be classified, as he ranges from the sublime to the pathetic in a single series. Varun Aaron is quick but wayward. New man Pankaj Singh is a very exciting prospect. He’s tall, gets good bounce and can generate movement off the pitch.

While this much variety may seem like a mouth-watering prospect, the fact is that India plays five tests in England. It would be unfair — and unwise — not to give a bowler a longish run of at least two or three matches. However, assuming India plays three bowlers in each game, playing six different bowlers will be practically impossible as that would not allow any of them to settle and as a group — pace bowlers invariably “hunt in packs” remember — they would not be able to find any consistency.

Imagine this scenario: Bhuvneshwar with his swingers bowls with the new ball with Mohammad Shami, with Ishant Sharma coming in first change. Each of these three have played together at least in ODIs. They would know how each one bowls and they would have some chemistry between them. Now, assuming hypothetically that one or two of them don’t perform, and say Ishant makes way for Ishwar Pandey and Bhuvneshwar makes way for Varun Aaron. These guys haven’t bowled very much together and might not be able click together, which may in turn cause say Mohammad Shami to be replaced by Pankaj Singh. Again, this may cause the new pack to not click together.

Of course, this is all hypothetical and maybe the pace attack will go on to win the series for the Indians — that will make many people very, very happy — but the fact is that by taking so many pace bowlers to England, the message that is passed loud and clear is that India does not have a lot of faith in its pace bowlers — be it form or fitness.

A 17-member squad might be overkill, but it is the reality of the Indian team that will tour England. Whether such a large selection pool will help India’s cause or hamper it, only time will tell. Hopefully a better result than 4-0 will await us.


(
Shiamak Unwalla is a reporter with Cricket Country. He is a self-confessed Sci-Fi geek and Cricket fanatic who likes to pass his free time by reading books, watching TV shows, and eating food. Sometimes all at the same time. You can follow him on twitter at @ShiamakUnwalla)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Highlights of Phil Hughes' double ton

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: The last great pace bowling all-rounder

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 4 at Southampton: Hosts in command

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

Virat Kohli has dinner with Michael Vaughan

Mark Waugh set to begin his new innings as national selector

Peter Siddle praises Stuart Broad

India vs England 2014, Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton: It will be difficult for India to save the match, says Shikhar Dhawan

India vs England 2014, Day 4 of 3rd Test at Southampton: England are desperate to win, says Joe Root

A Harry Potter XI

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India’s lacklustre performance, Moeen Ali’s rise as a spinner and other highlights of play on Day 4

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: A symbol of genius encompassing almost two decades

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: Long live the King

Jacques Kallis retires from international cricket: How the legend began

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Will Nawazuddin Siddiqui throw a success bash for Salman Khan’s Kick?

UPSC protesters torch buses, police booth in Delhi!

India vs England 3rd Test, Day 4: 5 interesting highlights of the day’s play

Do Xiaomi smartphones covertly spy on its users?

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Ajay Devgn gets 2500 cops shirtless in Singham Returns!

Motorola Moto G gets Rs 2,000 off on Flipkart

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here