World Cup 2015: An acid test for the Indian Pace Battery

There weren’t any major surprises when the Indian selectors announced the 15 man squad for the upcoming ICC Cricket world cup in Australia and New Zealand., India’s batting line up is star studded with the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane,Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni.

Batting hasn’t been India’s problem in limited-overs cricket. India must sort out its bowling combinations and resources at the earliest. The selectors have chosen 4 frontline seamers in Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, M. Shami,Umesh Yadav and Ishant Sharma.

The likes of Mohammad Shami,Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav have adequate pace to work with. These lads can bowl quite frequently near the 140 Km mark but what remains a problem is the lack of line and length. Let us take a closer look at India’s pace battery:

Ishant Sharma:The paceman from Delhi missed out in 2011 but now has the responsibility of leading the largely inexperienced Indian pace attack in Australia. Ishant Sharma’s biggest strength is undoubtedly his unpredictability. The day when he is expected to perform, he fails and when he is least expected to perform, he comes out all blazing, his heroics at lord’s made him earn the tag of “India’s enigmatic hero”. Ishant’s biggest strength remains his ability to trouble the batsman with the short pitch delivery. He made the Englishmen hopp and jump and Lord’s but the biggest weakness which ails Ishant is his inability to bowl consistent lines constantly. At times he goes wayward and ends up giving away easy runs to the opposition. Ishant will certainly have to play India’s pace spearhead in Australia if the Indian team wants to defend its world cup crown.

Sharma will have to lead from the front

Mohammad Shami: This seamer from the Indian state of West Bengal can bowl constantly in the late 130’s and early 140’s. He has been in the best of forms in the recent past scalping 38 wickets from 16 games in 2014. He can bowl good lines towards the back end of the innings. He can well be the game changer for india if he keeps his line and length intact in Australia and New Zealand.At times, Shami has been seen bowling way too short and has also been criticized for the lack of penetration power.

Shami has Pace but lacks Variation

Bhuvaneshwar Kumar: The UP seamer was India’s most consistent bowler in England in 2014. He proved to be lethal because of his ability to swing the red cherry in England. The major challenge for Bhuvaneshwar will be to swing the ball on Australian soil. The Kukaburra ball does not swing that often on the rock solid tracks of Australia. Apart from from bowling, Kumar is a more than useful batsman down the order and can also chip in with some precious runs down the order. Kumar has come back into the side after an ankle injury and didn’t prove to be all that effective in the first innings of the SCG Test.

Kumar will have to mix it up in order to prove effective

Umesh Yadav: This Burly-surly paceman has had a mixed career so far. His brief career has been studded with numerous ups and downs. Known for his ability to bowl at over 140 kms/hr quite regularly, he has recieved quite a lot of criticism for his inconsistent lines and lengths. At times he ends up bowling half trackers and juicy full tosses and gets leaked away for runs. His recent form in ODI’s has also not been all that impressive with economies over 5 and half. The paceman will have to mix up his lines and lengths in order to prove effective in Australia.

The spin department would be headed by Chennai lad R.Ashwin. Ravindra Jadeja, is more than useful in the limited overs format and can chip in with some crucial overs.But sadly, spin bowling is not bound to have a significant impact on the rock solid turfs of Australia.

Indian team needs someone to lead the attack and it needs to zero in on the bowlers who Dhoni and the team management believe will play in all the matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. The team will get a chance to experiment its bowling strength in the upcoming ODI triangular series later in January and this is undoubtedly the last for Dhoni and Co. to put two and two together.

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