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India tour of England 2014: How Indian pace attack fares could be crucial to final result

Bhuvneshwar Kumar © Getty Images
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is an out and out swing bowler; he rarely crosses the 135kph mark © Getty Images

If India’s batting performance in the recently-concluded Test series against England was horrific, their pace bowlers lent some respectability to the proceedings. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron were all impressive, but were let down by the rest of the team. Shiamak Unwalla feels that the Indian pace attack will be key even in the One-Day International (ODI) series.

India have rarely boasted of a pace attack that can blow away the opposition. At best, there have been periods of consistency with the new ball thanks to the likes of Javagal Srinath, Venkatesh Prasad, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, RP Singh and others.

However, none of the men mentioned above are a part of India’s ODI series against England. In fact, none of them have played any competitive cricket for quite some time now. That being said, the new crop of Indian seamers have some serious potential.

The Indian pace attack that has been selected for the ODI series consists of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Mohit Sharma, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Stuart Binny. Barring Umesh and to a slight extent Shami, none of these bowlers are particularly quick. But what this attack does boast of is variety.

Bhuvneshwar is an out and out swing bowler; he rarely crosses the 135kph mark. Shami is quick and bouncy, and gets the ball to reverse a bit in the latter part of the innings. Umesh is quite nippy, and gets the ball to move at pace. Mohit is a steady line-and-length customer, who sticks to the basics and bowls well within himself.

Kulkarni has been on the sidelines of International cricket for a while now, and will be keen to prove himself if given an opportunity. He can touch decent speeds and move the ball appreciably on a good day. He is also a handy batsman to have down the order. Binny was not utilised very well by MS Dhoni in the Test series, but as the man with the best bowling figures in ODIs for India, Binny’s gentle wobblers can’t be written off either.

The Indian batsmen have struggled throughout the tour, and in all probability will continue to face challenges in the ODI series; at least for the first couple of games. It will be up to the bowlers — mainly with the new and old ball — to restrict the English batsmen. One feels that if Bhuvneshwar and co and get the ball to talk, the Indian bats will be able to make some noise as well.

Complete coverage of India’s tour of England 2014

(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)

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