The Indian squad for the first three Tests against England was announced earlier today. The selection committee went beyond the normal 15 or 16 to include 18 members in the squad, five of whom are pace bowlers. The squad also features the spin trio of Jadeja, Ashwin and Kuldeep. Given the aid the pace bowlers get on English pitches, it is understandable to have five pacers in the bowling attack. The Test series begins with the 1st Test in Edgbaston starting on August 1.
While India may not seem to have much to ponder over their batting lineup, the bowling attack which they will field in the first Test still looks uncertain. With five pace bowlers, two genuine spinners, and a couple of all-rounders Virat Kohli has his work cut out for him as far as getting the right bowling combination is concerned. Given Edgbaston's history of aiding swing and seam bowlers, it is almost a surety that they will have a pace-heavy lineup.
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar missing out on the first three Tests due to a lower back injury and Bumrah's unavailability for the Edgbaston Test, it remains a bit of an enigma as to what the composition of the bowling lineup will be. But if we are able to include the factors that are going to affect the selection we will be fairly close to predicting the actual set of bowlers that India will field in the first Test.
Without much ado, let's have a look over the bowling attack India is expected to field against England in Edgbaston.
#1 Mohammed Shami
With neither Bumrah nor Bhuvneshwar going to play the Edgbaston Test, Shami is likely to be given the responsibility of leading the pack of bowlers. Although he is not as experienced in Tests as Ishant Sharma, he has looked in better shape than him in the last couple of years and therefore is expected to lead the pace attack.
Shami was not in the best of form in white ball cricket. But, he was the standout performer with the red ball on the tour to South Africa earlier this year where he took 15 wickets in six innings, including a five-wicket haul in the last Test, which India won. The England Test series will be crucial for his ODI future as well for the current Indian attack desperately needs a good backup pacer, and he may well be a consideration if he performs out of his skin in the upcoming Tests.