Do India have enough fast bowling resources to cater to IPL and 2019 World Cup?
Let us address the elephant in the room. The next IPL begins on March 29 and ends on May 19. So, the break between the end of IPL and the beginning of 2019 World Cup is just 11 days. We all know the probability of bowlers breaking down in a tournament like IPL is quite high.
So, it is only fair to dig deep into the pool of bowling resources that India have heading in to the World Cup. The team management has tried many bowlers, but clearly, two prominent bowlers that India need desperately to be in the flight to England are Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah. Barring the two players, it is tough to pinpoint a single bowler who could be a handy proposition in the death overs.
We are no stranger to the relationship between the IPL and injury. Back in 2017 season, veteran Indian pacer Ashish Nehra was injured during a match against Rising Pune Supergiants and was out for the remaining tournament. It is almost tough to wipe out the bad memories of IPL 2016 which was marred by injuries.
What if any of India's premier bowlers get injured? The career economy rate of Bumrah in ODI is a staggering 4.44, while the average balls taken per wicket is 21 balls. Now, moving from one pro to another Bhuvneshwar Kumar, his economy rate is 4.98 with an average ball taken per wicket (46 balls) is slightly on the higher side, but a healthy economy rate compensates for the strike rate spike.
When we look at a fresh face like Khaleel Ahmed, lack of experience is one thing that goes against the left-armer. He has played mere six ODI matches with a good enough economy rate of 5.07. Also, if Khaleel is on the flight to the world cup, he needs the support of bowlers like Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar.
The team management has tried a few other bowlers which include the likes of Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur, and Deepak Chahar. Thakur has proven to be expensive at the death and has been quite inconsistent in executing his variations, while Chahar and Siraj are still young in terms of international exposure.
Bowlers like Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav who have been with Indian cricket team for a while now are such players who are certainly in the radar for World Cup and they are certainly excellent back up options for Bhuvi and Bumrah.
If we lose them owing to an injury, the bowling bench strength of the Indian team will be exposed. On the other hand, we cannot afford to lose the yorker machines, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar.
Thus, the question is, do India have enough bowling resources to cater IPL and the World Cup needs at the same time? A tough one to answer.