Sixth specialist bowling option is ideal for India: VVS Laxman

TIMESOFINDIA.COM | Updated: Jul 3, 2018, 09:43 IST


NEW DELHI: Former batting stalwart VVS Laxman feels that India’s T20 series against Ireland was the ideal preparation for the tough tour of England. For India, the Irish tour was nothing more than a glorified warm-up where all the top order batsmen save Virat Kohli got runs while wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal were again among wickets.

In his column for the Times of India, Laxman wrote, “India were expected to brush aside Ireland’s challenge in the two Twenty20 games last week and, to no one’s surprise, they did exactly that. I am sure the Irish players themselves and their fans will be disappointed at how meekly they surrendered to Virat’s mighty team. That said, like Afghanistan would have picked up valuable lessons from their two-day defeat to India in their inaugural Test, Ireland too will be better off for this experience. The Ireland stop was the ideal preparation for a long and what ought to be a demanding tour of England. It will be crucial for India to start well in the T20 series against a seriously good white-ball team that will be full of confidence after sweeping Australia in a five-match ODI showdown recently.”

India should expecting a tough battle against England in their upcoming three-match T20 series, which begins at Old Trafford on Tuesday, as well as in five Tests and three ODIs that will keep them in England until September.

“Virat and Ravi Shastri will think long and hard before choosing from the plentiful batting options at their disposal. That everyone weighed in with classy runs in Ireland, and that most of them are in excellent form, will make the management duo’s task even trickier. I am certain they will go less by names and more by the skill-sets the batsmen bring while keeping in mind recent form. I personally would like to see a sixth specialist bowling option, and while the forced inclusion of Krunal Pandya can offer that possibility without weakening the batting, it will be interesting to see if Virat thinks likewise. England have shown a susceptibility to left-arm spin, and the weather is fairly hot and dry there currently, which are pretty good conditions for a spinner to operate in. Also, England have tremendous power and depth, so the best dot-balls will be wicket-taking ones. By strengthening the attack, Virat will have the insurance if one of his bowlers has an off-day,” Laxman, who scored the epic 281 against Australia in 2001, added.

Jasprit Bumrah’s thumb injury will be a concern as he has played a big role with his death overs bowling. It will be interesting to find whether his replacement Deepak Chahar gets his maiden cap even though senior pro Umesh Yadav looks more likely replacement.

Jasprit Bumrah‘s absence through injury is a setback, but it also opens the door for Umesh Yadav to continue his T20 comeback. Alongside Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bumrah has formed a very potent pace combine, especially at the death with his searing yorkers and his excellent changes of pace. Bhuvi will now need a new partner both at the top of the innings, and towards the end. Again, there are enough men to pick from, but whereas the batting is well rounded, experienced and in excellent touch, there is a little bit of inexperience in the bowling ranks. Krunal and Deepak Chahar, both getting lucky breaks through injuries to Washington Sundar and Bumrah, will be desperate for an opportunity at the highest level,” Laxman concluded.


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