Venkatesh Prasad has expressed that Ishant Sharma has all the qualities of a good pace bowler but still hasn’t realized his true potential. He has also added that it’s a high time for Ishant to lead the pace attack while stating that Steyn and Morkel are not a big threat to the team.
This time cricket fans and experts have a genuine belief that India cricket team can create history by winning the first-ever series on the South African soil. And they got the belief after watching India’s pace attack which includes the likes of Ishant, Umesh Yadav, Bhuveshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, and Jasprit Bumrah. The team has been never known for its proper pace attack but these players worked hard to change that perception.
While Yadav and Shami have proved their worth in the longest format of the game, Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah made their status as the best limited-overs pair in the world cricket. Ishant has the experience of playing 79 Tests in which he has claimed 226 wickets at an average of 36.55 and the sorry stat helped Prasad claim that despite the potential Ishant failed to realize his strong points.
“Ishant has been around for more than a decade. It is high time that he leads the attack. I don’t know what the issue is. He has got the pace, the height, the aggression but he has not realized his potential. He should be playing the role that Srinath (Javagal) played when he was around, or Zaheer Khan or Kapil Dev when they played,” Prasad told PTI today.
Talking about the Indian pacers picked for the South Africa tour, Prasad said this team has enough variety but a lot would depend on how they adapt to the conditions.
“They all are different to each other. With more and more cricket being played and more rolling, the pitches in South Africa are not what they were 10-15 years ago. However, the extra bounce would surely suit the faster bowlers but it remains to be seen how the Indian pacers adapt to the conditions after doing well at home,” said Prasad.
Fast bowler Bumrah earned a maiden Test call-up for the three-Test series against South Africa, which starts on January 5 in Cape Town.
“He has done well and that is why he has been picked. Let him get the opportunity then we will see how he fares. The requirements of bowling in Tests are different to the needs of the shorter formats,” said Prasad, who toured South Africa twice.
The real challenge for the team will be the strong pace attack of South Africa which comprises Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada. But Prasad did not seem to be bothered by that and especially for Steyn and Morkel and claimed that they are coming from the injury which forced them to stay away from the international circuit, but he warned the visitors to not take lightly to Rabada.
“With due respect, I don’t see Steyn and Morkel posing a big threat. The bowler India need to watch out for is Rabada. He is young, he has got the pace and creates that awkward bounce for the batsman,” he opined.
India has a depth batting line-up which performed really well throughout the year and Prasad said that there is no reason why India can’t post 350 or more consistently against the South African attack.
“Most of our batsmen have been doing really well and I expect their rich run to continue in South Africa. They are experienced enough to deal with the conditions. Everytime India tour South Africa, England or Australia, there is a tendency to put extra pressure on the bowlers. That is not fair."
“It will be really important for the batsmen to put up 350 runs or more in the first innings and then the bowlers come into play. And I actually see the entire team performing well and win their maiden series in South Africa,” Prasad predicted.