Zaheer Khan picks India's bowling line-up for Adelaide Test
What's the story
Former Indian speedster Zaheer Khan believes that planning and experience will prove vital for the Indian pace battery in India's upcoming Test series against Australia. Zaheer believes that Ishant Sharma, despite having poor numbers in the Australian soil, will be the spearhead of the Indian pace attack, owing to his playing experience in Aussie conditions.
Zaheer Khan said that Ishant's advice to the other bowlers would benefit India and India's chances of winning in Australia and creating history.
"You need not just look at numbers all the time. His numbers even though suggesting he has played about 10 games and has a higher average. Something which is going to be a vital component is the awareness in terms of planning. Talking to other bowlers as well, that is something that is going to be vital as well," the left-arm seamer said.
Zaheer Khan chose four bowlers who would be in contention for selection in the first Test match, excluding Bhuvi from the list. The legendary Indian pacer expects India to look at the four pacers (Ishant, Shami, Umesh, and Bumrah) and play only three out of them in the Adelaide Test.
"The first Test match is starting in Adelaide. You expect Shami, who has been in great rhythm in England to perform. Bumrah can provide the x-factor and I hope that he plays all the four Test matches. That will be very handy. Umesh I think has been the strike bowler. You have these four bowlers and the team management would be thinking of picking three from these four," Zaheer said.
Ishant has 20 wickets to his name in Australia, but at a horrible average of over 60, consuming more than 100 balls to pick a wicket.
Mohammad Shami has the experience of playing six Test matches in Australia, where he picked 15 wickets at an average of 35.79 and a strike rate of 50.59, including a 5-wicket haul. Umesh has played seven Test matches in Australia, grabbing a total of 25 wickets. However, Bhuvi has played just one test match, picking up one wicket.
Thus, Jasprit Bumrah remains the only Indian bowler in the squad who has no experience of what it is like to play against Australia in Australia.
The heart of the matter
Zaheer Khan believes that a lot of India's fortune depends upon how they prepare for the clash. The 40-year-old wants the Indian batsmen to help their bowlers during the preparations by providing them with the much-needed platform.
"You know pretty much in terms of preparations what is going to be asked of you. The grounds are big usually and are sand-based. You have to prepare differently for these kind of tours. So, you would expect that the batting line up to give them the platform that is important."
Zaheer thinks Bhuvi should be kept out of the XI as the Australian conditions don't match with Bhuvi's bowling abilities.
"Bhuvneshwar will rely on swing and Australian conditions don't really provide that. You will see good bounce and pace on the wicket. Unlike South Africa or England for that matter where you see some good sideways movement as well. Just for that reasoning, I would say that maybe for the first couple of Test matches, the Indian team will not be looking at Bhuvneshwar as first priority. The remaining four will be in contention for being a part of the playing XI," he said.
India are scheduled to face Australia on 6 December, in Adelaide before proceeding to Perth for the second Test. India's fate in the series could depend on how well they start things off. Having lost both their overseas Test series in 2018, India would be desperate to create history by beating a 'weakened' Australian side. As many pundits of the game have said, it's now or never for India.