IND vs SA | Prasidh Krishna’s performance hints at bare bench strength

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Prasidh Krishna in action during the first Test against South Africa in Centurion.

Prasidh Krishna in action during the first Test against South Africa in Centurion.
| Photo Credit: PTI

A few weeks ago, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey in an interview to PTI was very clear that no coach can claim credit to have created a pacer of Mohammed Shami’s calibre.

On the second and third day of the first Test against South Africa when Dean Elgar, David Bedingham and Marco Jansen were making a mockery of Shardul Thakur and debutant Prasidh Krishna, Shami’s absence was felt like never before.

It could be said with a degree of certainty that Prasidh might have played his first and last Test for some time and in the next game Ravindra Jadeja and Avesh Khan would walk into the playing XI in place of him and Shardul Thakur.

The Indian fans got a reality check that the country’s second line of red ball bowlers aren’t exactly finished products and the days of dominance due to Jasprit Bumrah, Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav could be all but over.

Ishant and Umesh are unofficially done with their Test careers and Shami is nearer to end rather than start.

They say it takes two to tango and Bumrah without Shami is incomplete and the vice versa is equally true.

Siraj is the third angle to the triangle.

“Shami has a chronic left heel issue. A lot of people don’t know that he took injections regularly during World Cup and played the entire tournament through pain.

“But you must understand that as you grow older, recovery from each niggle or big injury takes that more time,” a former Bengal teammate of Shami, aware of his situation told PTI on the condition of anonymity.

Prasidh’s shoddy performance must have set the alarm bells ringing in the Indian camp.

While Rohit Sharma, as any skipper would do publicly, backed the Bengaluru man, who was playing only his 13th first-class game, the manner in which Avesh Khan was summoned by the Indian team management after his five-wicket haul for India A indicated the panic that has set in among the ranks.

“Poor Prasidh… The kid isn’t ready for Test cricket. He doesn’t have skills to bowl second and third spells yet. They went with him based on his ability to hit the deck. But they forgot when has he last played a proper season of Ranji Trophy? Just one India A game isn’t enough,” a former India bowler told PTI.

He said that even Avesh’s inclusion wouldn’t make much of a difference unless he is given a long rope.

“The problem is India’s next generation of pacers don’t evoke the same kind of excitement and confidence that Bumrah, Shami, Ishant and Siraj produced.

“Avesh is same type of bowler like Prasidh but plays red ball cricket more regularly. So he might hit better lengths. Navdeep Saini is still playing India A for six years. That tells you the story,” the bowler, who refused to be named, said.

Shardul Thakur’s long rope as bits and pieces cricketer also might come to an end as he is neither looking menacing with the ball nor dependable with the bat.

Had Hardik Pandya been interested in playing red ball cricket, Shardul wouldn’t have been in the horizon of Tests but with lack of good multi-skilled cricketers in domestic set-up, he is considered to be the best among whatever talent is available in store.

India might still handle this WTC cycle but possessing a bowling attack with an ability to take 20 sticks is a distant reality.

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