With Mohammed Siraj injured, Virat Kohli was left to make a tough decision about his replacement. On the eve of the third Test, the India captain said that the management was yet to make up its mind as to who will take Siraj’s place. At the toss, the question was answered when Kohli informed that Umesh Yadav got the nod ahead of Ishant Sharma.
Ishant, a veteran of over 100 Tests, would have been the first choice of many former cricketers, but Kohli proved them wrong. Calling it a ‘tough decision’, the green light was given to Umesh. However, Ishant missing out on a place in the XI has cast a shadow over his future as former India and South Africa cricketers gave their opinions on the matter.
Former India batter Aakash Chopra feels that if Ishant does not make the cut even out of a pack of five pacers, it is worth wondering that happens to the pacer or where his future stands.
“In regards to Ishant and Umesh, well, Umesh has been brilliant. But you ask yourself a question about Ishant Sharma and that is if he is not in your front five players – he is someone who has played 100 Test matches and he does not make the cut even after playing five fast bowlers… you know that is not a great statement where his career is at this time,” Chopra said on The Byju’s Cricket Live Show.
Former South Africa batter Daryll Cullinan feels that having Ishant in the mix could have given India a bowler whose role would have been to curb the run flow, a perfect support to the remaining pacers, whose job is to take wickets.
“I think India here did not consider South Africa’s batting. It’s a very fairly young unit and they got their runs in Wanderers too easily. India haven’t found that mix. It must have been a tough decision. Virat is ultimately the one that makes the call. On the bowling front… I can only imagine that he is carrying an injury or not bowling in the nets. On this pitch, you need to bowl and play with a lot of patience,” Cullinan said on ESPNCricinfo.
Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar feels the same, saying that Ishant could added more ‘balance’ to the Indian unit.
“The reason I was backing Ishant Sharma was that it gave you a nice balance. We saw in the last innings of the last Test that Indian seamers were leaking runs. All of them are natural wicket takers. Bumrah attacks the stumps, Shami does the same and Shardul Thakur is another guy, who will give you wickets at a cost,” Manjrekar said on ESPNCricinfo.
“And that was India’s biggest issue in that final innings. They were not able to test the patience of South African batters. And I thought Ishant would have complemented this seam bowling trio that India has. He would have been a perfect fit.”