Former Indian batsman Gautam Gambhir said that he would have picked Mohammed Siraj, instead of Ishant Sharma, in the playing XI for the first Test against England at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.
Gambhir explained Ishant hasn’t played any red-ball cricket for a very long time, which would make it difficult for him to bowl 16-17 overs a day in the absence of a third seam option.
“Yes, I would have picked Siraj. The reason is that Ishant hasn’t played any red-ball cricket for a very long time. Straight IPL and after IPL he has got injured and then he has played only T20 cricket.
“It’s not like you have got the third seamer in your ranks and you can actually just go on to bowl 12-13 overs a day,” Gautam Gambhir was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
“You might have to bowl 15-16 overs plus it’s always easy to bowl in T20 cricket but not in red-ball cricket where you gotta make things happen,” the cricketer-turned-politician added.
Gambhir further stated that India should have prepared Ishant for the pink-ball Test in Ahmedabad where they would have to go with three seamers and should have let Siraj continue after a fabulous outing against Australia.
“You might have to play three seamers with the pink ball at Motera. So I would have definitely built him for Motera or probably for the second Test match and gone with Siraj because Siraj is coming after such a fabulous tour and he has bowled such long spells in Australia as well,” he concluded.
Siraj made a solid impression against Australia in his debut Test series. The Hyderabad-born pacer ended the four-match series as India’s leading wicket-taker. Siraj had also bagged his maiden Test five-for in the fourth and final Test at the Gabba in Brisbane.