Varun Aaron (above) and Mohammad Shami shared two wickets apiece on the opening day against Australia on Tuesday at Adelaide © Getty Images (File Photo)
Varun Aaron (above) and Mohammad Shami shared two wickets apiece on the opening day against Australia on Tuesday at Adelaide © Getty Images (File Photo)

By Faisal Kamal

New Delhi: Dec 9, 2014

Notwithstanding a difficult day in office for India‘s fast bowlers against Australia, former paceman Ajit Agarkar feels the new-ball attack of Varun Aaron and Mohammad Shami looked good even though they let it slip against David Warner in “tough conditions”.

“To start off with Aaron and Shami are good. Aaron had impressed in England and also bowled well in the tour game. So he has progressed well so far. And as far as Shami is concerned, he is quite steady. So the Indian new-ball attack looks good with them,” Agarkar told PTI.

Aaron and Shami shared two wickets apiece as Australia rode on David Warner’s 145 to post 354 for six on the opening day and Agarkar opined that apart from missing a trick or two, the duo was impressive.

“Once Bhuvneshwar Kumar was injured this was the pace attack that was my choice as well. Not because Umesh Yadav is bowling badly, I think he has been in good form, but these three in recent times have bowled well in tandem. But I would have liked Shami and Aaron to get their line right early morning. Especially against Warner, they let it slip a bit. Tough conditions to bowl but could have done better with the new ball,” he said.

The bowling was also well supported by Ishant Sharma, who drew first blood by sending opener Chris Rogers back to the pavilion early, and Agarkar said that the lanky pacer has been the pick in the last 6-8 months.

“Ishant has been the pick in the last 6-8 months that he has returned to the international stage. On all the overseas tours, whether you take New Zealand, England or South Africa, he bowled well. So he seems to have started to lead the attack a bit more, considering the kind of experience he has. He looked to be the most effective of the bowlers till towards the end of the day when he looked a bit tired,” he said.

Agarkar, who represented India in 26 Tests and 191 ODIs during his decade-long career, was also impressed with Karn Sharma‘s debut after the leg-spinner picked up the opening day centurion.

“You need a spinner in Adelaide, where the wicket is on the slower side unlike any other Australian wicket. You want to have a spinner to have some sort of control in the game and I think the Karn picked up the most crucial wicket of the day in Warner,” said Agarkar.

Although he was impressed with India’s bowling, Agarkar was quick to admit that the day belonged to Australia.”I think it has been Australia’s day but those three wickets in the end brought India back on track. 350 in a day is a lot of runs but Adelaide is known to be high-scoring first innings surface. So India should pick up wickets early morning and bat well. It’s a good score but a good batting strip,” he said.All eyes were on Virat Kohli ‘the captain’ at the Adelaide, but Agarkar said it was too early to talk about it.

“Very early to judge Kohli’s captaincy. But today he made some good decisions and some where he showed a little bit of inexperience. It has been a tough day. It has been a good batting pitch, so it was not only hard for the bowlers but for the captain as well. I am sure there are things that he can learn from, but too early to judge. It will be very hard to pass any judgement,” he opined.

Talking about his experience with ‘Match Point’, which also has former Australia leg-spinner Stuart MacGill, Agarkar said that he is loving the analysts role.

“Now I have done two matches and have enjoyed it. It has been fun to analyse somebody else. You get to interact with so many fans. As a player you get kicked around but now somebody else is getting kicked,” he chuckled.