Former India pacer Ashish Nehra feels that presently India has a potent fast bowling unit, and is particularly impressed with how Ishant Sharma lead the attack the first Test of the ongoing series in England.
Ishant bagged seven wickets in the opener against England at Birmingham, including a five-for in the second innings, in a match where India fell short by 31 runs.
“We have a huge number of options, but the more important thing is quality. We have six to seven fast bowlers and one or two come in behind also and they have quality,” Nehra, said.
“In the first Test match we managed to pick 20 wickets and, more importantly, somebody like Ishant Sharma - leading from the front after playing so many Test matches - that was good to see,” he said.
“Mohammed Shami was struggling with injuries, not easy to come back, and bowled his heart out (in the first Test). We have Umesh Yadav, who has heaps of talent. You have Jasprit Bumrah, who has done so well, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, who has been injured, but in One Dayers he is your number one guy.” he added.
“We have an experienced bowling attack on this tour. All in all we have a very good fast bowling unit,” explained the 39-year-old ex-cricketer.
Nehra, who played 120 ODIs, believes that though all-rounder Hardik Pandya has improved as a bowler, he still needs a cushion.
“I personally feel when he [Hardik] is playing as a fifth bowler, or in even T20s or One Dayers, then we need some cushion behind him. Because he is not somebody who is bowling 10 overs consistently. At times we have six batters but nobody bowls.
“He has done well, shown some improvement in his graph, but he has not reached that way [position] that he is your fifth bowler in 50 over [game],” Nehra pointed out.
“But in Leeds, captain [Virat Kohli] gave him the new ball ahead of Shardul Thakur, so captain is showing faith in him. As a bowler he is improving, but still there is a long way to go and you cannot say he is your certain fifth bowler,” Nehra said.
With inputs from PTI