While opinion seems divided within the Indian cricket circle as to whether players, and fast bowlers especially, should be rested during the Indian Premier League ahead of the World Cup in May, former India pacer Ashish Nehra is clear in his head as to what the team’s plan should be.
The cricket boards of Australia and England have already informed the Board of Control for Cricket in India that their players won’t be available in the IPL after May 1. However, Nehra feels Indian pacers could get rusty if they take a break before the World Cup, which begins on May 30.
“I think it is a wrong thought-process to rest the World Cup-bound fast bowlers during the IPL,” Nehra told Mumbai Mirror in an interview. “No matter how much training you do, you need match practice. If a bowler himself feels he needs rest, then that is a different matter. In my view they should play [at least] 8-10 IPL games. It will be helpful for the World Cup.”
Nehra played down fears that the fast bowlers risk getting injured during the IPL, saying that injuries can happen any time. “In the 2011 World Cup, I got injured in the semi-final against Pakistan,” he said. “You can get injured in practice too, or even in the first match of the World Cup. We will have a couple of weeks between the IPL and the World Cup, which is sufficient to recover from niggles.”
Nehra picked Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami as his top three choices for India’s pace attack in the World Cup.
“You will need a pool of fast bowlers because the World Cup is in England and there are two new balls,” he said. “I think Shami and Umesh [Yadav] can do well. Shami is a good one-day bowler.
“If you ask me, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar and Shami will be my top three choices, and you can then pick one out of Khaleel Ahmed, Mohammed Siraj and Umesh.
“It is too early to say if Khaleel is ready for the World Cup. There will be pressure there. Khaleel and Siraj are not too experienced and can panic. Shami is an experienced guy.
“You also have to keep in mind injuries, of course. As of now, only Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar are certainties,” he added.
You can read the entire interview here.