The Indian cricket team's Test bowling attack is undoubtedly among the most potent ones of recent times. However, Virat Kohli's side do not have a left-arm pacer in their ranks.
Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma combined to pick up 48 wickets at an average of 21.6 to play a major role in India’s historic triumph Down Under in 2018-19. But all of them are right-handed pace bowlers.
According to retired all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who himself was a left-arm pacer, the missing link in Team India’s bowling attack gives the Aussies a definite edge.
"There is no doubt that the two teams are evenly matched when it comes to quality of pace bowling. India have a top-quality, world-class bowling line-up. But I think Australia will have a slight advantage as they are playing at home and they have a left-arm bowler in Mitchell Starc,” Pathan told IANS.
“A left-arm pace bowler provides variety, also the angle across the right-handed batsman. Though I think the advantage could only be slight, but there will be advantage for sure," the cricketer-turned-commentator, who featured in two Test series in Australia, added.
Team India’s left-arm pacers have done well Down Under
While a left-arm pacer could have added variety to the bowling attack, history also proves that left-arm pace bowlers from Team India have tasted reasonable success in Australia.
The legendary Zaheer Khan claimed a five-wicket haul at Brisbane in 2003-04 in the hard-fought drawn encounter. Irfan Pathan made an impressive debut in the same series, and was the Man of the Match in the famous Perth triumph of 2007-08 in which he picked up five wickets to go with his batting efforts.
In the same Perth Test, another left-arm pacer RP Singh stood out with 4 for 68 in the first innings and two scalps in the second. Going back to the Adelaide Test of 2003-04, in which Ajit Agarkar claimed the famous 6 for 41 in the second innings, left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra chipped in with some important breakthroughs.
Unfortunately, India haven’t produced a quality left-arm pacer of late. Jaydev Unadkat, Khaleel Ahmed and Barinder Sran showed promise, but failed to make it to the next level.
With Steve Smith and David Warner back in the Test squad, unlike in 2018-19, and Marnus Labuschagne also in great form, India would hope that the lack of a left-arm seamer doesn't affect them.
The four-Test series between Team India and Australia will kick-off with the first match at Adelaide on December 17, which will be a Day/Night encounter.
Published 22 Nov 2020, 09:22 IST