All-rounder and Bowlers in India’s Squad for the Three-Test Series v New Zealand 2016 (Review, Part 2)

If you haven’t already, read part one of our review of India’s Test squad v New Zealand, for the three-Test series which commences in Kanpur on the 22nd of September.

Listen to Cricfooty’s Video Review of New Zealand’s Tour of India 2016

Continuing on, though…

All-rounder

As was mentioned in the first part of our review, in conditions which are expected to assist spinners and be conducive for reverse-swing bowling, the No. 2 Test team will not be needing all-rounders like Stuart Binny. India’s 15-man squad does, however, possess an all-rounder and as the top-ranked Test all-rounder, what an asset he is to Virat Kohli and co.!

On that note, a related article you must read:

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Ravichandran Ashwin: Yes, folks, R Ashwin, given his credentials—1439 runs from 52 Test innings, at a batting average of 34.26 and 193 wickets from 66 innings, whilst having picked those wickets at an impressive bowling average of 25.20—is the only all-rounder in India’s Test squad v New Zealand. The Tamil Nadu off-spinner proved unplayable for the West Indies batsmen and in conditions which are tailor-made for him back home, Ashwin, who will be turning 30 tomorrow, is the biggest threat to New Zealand’s ambition of winning their first-ever Test series on Indian soil.

With the bat, I would like to see Ashwin drop a position and ideally slot in at No. 8, presuming India go in with the 6-1-4 combination. Ashwin is a good player against pacers and seamers but tends to struggle against spinners and so, with Wriddhiman Saha being a better batsman against spin, the Bengal wicket-keeper batsman can be asked to bat at No. 7. Having enjoyed a good tour of the West Indies with the bat, Saha’s confidence should be high.

On that note,

Take a peek at Cricfooty‘s coverage of the West Indies v India Test Series 2016.

R Ashwin v Kane Williamson, the New Zealand skipper, will be the biggest player tussle of the upcoming series, as the best Indian bowler goes up against the best batsman in the touring party and against spin too.

Learn:

What Should Ideally Be India’s Playing XI for the Kanpur Test v New Zealand?

Bowlers

The 15-man Indian squad for the three-Test series against New Zealand, comprises of six bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Amit Mishra, and Ravindra Jadeja.

Ishant Sharma: The Delhi pacer is the spearhead of this Indian bowling attack and he will look to leverage reverse swing if it is on offer during the India v New Zealand 2016 Test series. In the 2015 Indian cricket season, against the visiting South Africans, Ishant played as the solitary pace bowler in Bangalore, Nagpur and Delhi, after returning to action from a one-game ban which saw him miss the Freedom Series opener in Mohali. This time around, Kohli and Kumble are unlikely to go with only one pacer in India’s playing XI, against New Zealand but also thereafter England, Bangladesh and Australia.

Mohammed Shami: Arguably the most accomplished bowler in India’s Test squad v New Zealand, the Bengal pacer is likely to play alongside Ishant in a two-pronged pace attack for the hosts. Shami, like Ishant, will look to harness reverse swing, as the SG Test ball rarely swings in Indian conditions while it’s new.

On that note, a related article you might want to read:

What Sort of Pitches Should India Play on During Their 2016-17 Home Season?

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The UP seamer bowled a magical spell during the post-lunch session on day four of the St Lucia Test, picking up 5/14 in just 8.2 overs and thereby playing an instrumental role in India going on to win that Test and with it, taking an unassailable 0-2 lead in the four-Test series. Bhuvneshwar swung the ball both ways and he was doing so at speeds close to 140 KMPH, which actually made the difference.

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If he can bowl at such speeds in India, he will be a threat to most batting units because he will then be able to harness the uneven bounce on Indian pitches and also be a handful with the old ball. But, unfortunately, India are unlikely to play three seamers in home conditions and therefore, Bhuvneshwar might well not be a regular part of India’s playing XI during the long home season coming up, after he played two back-to-back Tests in the West Indies, for the first time since August 2014.

On that note, a related article you must read:

Five Things We Learned from India’s 0-2 Series Victory v West Indies 2016

Umesh Yadav: Although part of India’s Test squad v New Zealand, Umesh is highly unlikely to play, given that he now has to contend with three bowlers ahead of him in the pecking order. Because of his pace, the Vidarbha pacer will always be in Kohli’s plans. However, owing to his mercurial nature, the 29-year-old will always have difficulty in featuring regularly in India’s Test and ODI sides.

Amit Mishra: Lost his place in the Indian playing XI for the Gros Islet Test, to Ravindra Jadeja, after a particularly poor bowling performance on the final day of the Jamaica Test and therefore, will be having his fingers crossed for Kohli to play three spinners, just as the Indian Test skipper did a year ago against South Africa. Mishra, with his experience and nous of bowling the right lengths and at the right pace on Indian pitches, will be a huge threat to the Blackcaps’ batsmen if he does play.

On that note, a related article you must read:

How Amit Mishra is Proving to Be a Tremendous Third Spinner for Virat Kohli and co.? 

Ravindra Jadeja: The Saurashtra left-arm spinner, whose match figures of 10-171 in the Duleep Trophy Final helped India Blue win the title, is almost a certainty in India’s playing XI for the Kanpur Test against New Zealand, thanks to his immaculate accuracy in line and length and clever, subtle changes in pace. Because R Jadeja also bowls well in tandem with Ashwin, he might well get the nod ahead of Mishra in Kanpur, that is if Kohli decides to play only two spinners to complement the two quicks.

Summary

India’s Test squad v New Zealand is well-balanced and Kohli also has enough options that he can choose from if his first-choice playing XI does not deliver the goods. The combination India choose to go in with will be another one of the aspects to watch out for, as the hosts will not want to become too batting or bowling heavy and leave themselves vulnerable in one of these two integral departments.

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