Ashish Nehra has backed Jasprit Bumrah to deliver if handed his Test debut in the upcoming series against South Africa in January 2019. Nehra has also stated that the performance of pacers - Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma - will be key to India's success in the foreign conditions.
With India gearing up to a make or break series versus South Africa, which is the first of their many foreign tours lined up throughout the year in 2018, former India pacer Nehra is fairly confident that the national team will emerge successful in the tour. However, he singled out Jasprit Bumrah, whose deadly yorkers have terrified batsmen in the shorter formats of the game, as the player to watch out for. The left - arm pacer further went on to stress that the variety of Bumrah’s deliveries itself makes him a threat to the opposition.
"Jasprit Bumrah can be a good choice for the first Test in Cape Town. I don't know what's there in the team management's mind but he is the kind of bowler, who can be an asset on the Newlands track during the first Test," said Nehra in an interview.
"He has the most lethal yorker among the five pacers along with good slower ones. Also, he has an awkward high-arm action, which can be very difficult to pick initially. All these factors work in Bumrah's favour," feels Nehra, who was a part of the 2001 squad that travelled to South Africa.
On the other hand, Ishant Sharma has a lot of critics to prove wrong, with the Test series against South Africa offers him a chance to do just that. Sharma has been misfiring in the last couple of series and will look to cement his place in the Test team.
"Ishant is a bowler, who can stifle batsmen bowling over after over from one end. That is a quality that a lot of bowlers don't have. There have been times that Ishant has created pressure from one end and it has helped bowlers from other end get wickets," Nehra added.
For the first time in a long time, India has travelled to a foreign country with a strong pace battery at their disposal. While all five bowlers have done enough to demand a place in the team, it will be difficult for the Indian Team management to choose one player. When it came to the choice of playing a third pacer provided they choose to play one spinner, Nehra stated that the decision will be depending on the conditions of the pitch and team strategy.
"It's the choice between Bumrah, Bhuvi and Umesh Yadav. Now Umesh has a fantastic outswinger at a good pace. He has bowled a lot in home conditions during the past season and is also a contender. But I believe the choice would be very much condition specific," Nehra concluded.