Former Indian all-rounder Madan Lal believes Team India, against England should have opted for a five-pronged bowling attack consisting of three pacers and two spinners. The 69-year-old feels the hosts’ bowling lacks the much-needed balance.
Mohammed Siraj was the leading wicket-taker for Team India in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy with 13 scalps to his name. He had also picked up his maiden five-wicket haul in his previous Test at the Gabba. Yet, he was inexplicably left out to accommodate Ishant Sharma, who was returning from an injury.
Speaking to Sports Tak, Madan Lal explained that Team India dropping Siraj after his exploits Down Under would have dented the confidence of the youngster. He feels the Hyderabad pacer should have played ahead of Ishant in Chennai.
“I think India have not played with a balanced bowling attack. They should have played with three pacers and two spinners. Ishant Sharma has only just returned from an injury, so it would have been wise to play him after 1-2 Tests. They also dropped Mohammed Siraj, who bowled so well in Australia,” Madan Lal said.
In the absence of Ravindra Jadeja, all-rounder Axar Patel was in line to make his Test debut against England at Chennai. However, he suffered from a knee injury and was ruled out of the first Test. Left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem replaced him in the Indian squad and straightaway made into Team India’s playing XI against England.
This meant that Kuldeep Yadav yet again had to wait for a Test call-up after a long time. Madan Lal believes if Washington Sundar was played to strengthen Team India’s batting, Shardul Thakur could have been chosen ahead of the 21-year-old, which would have given the hosts the liberty to play Kuldeep.
“If you wanted to bat deep, you could have played Shardul Thakur ahead of Washington Sundar and could have gone with Kuldeep Yadav over Shahbaz Nadeem,” Madan lal asserted.
England won a crucial toss and dominated the first day, thanks to a sensational hundred from skipper Joe Root. The 30-year-old is still unbeaten at the crease and is threatening to convert his century into a big one.
Madan Lal feels if England reach closer to the 450-run mark, the pressure could in fact increase on the hosts and they might have to play for saving the Test.
“Joe Root has scored a really significant hundred. If England are able to reach the score of 450, the pressure might be on India,” he further added.
Although Team India picked up the wicket of Dominic Sibley on the last ball of Day 1, the day still belonged to the visitors, and especially to their talisman Joe Root. With the likes of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler still to follow, England will look to post a huge first-innings total.
A day we will never forget.
What will tomorrow bring?
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) February 5, 2021
The hosts will need to extract life out of this Chennai pitch which is looking absolutely tailor-made for batting. If they let England away with a big score, Team India could well find themselves far behind in the game.