Umesh Yadav best India pacer at home since 2017; Will he pip Siraj to partner Shami in BGT 2022-23?
Updated: Feb 9
Umesh Yadav best India pacer at home since 2017; Will he pip Mohammed Siraj to partner Mohammed Shami in Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23?
India will kickstart the 4-match Test series against Australia with the first game at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur on February 9. This series will decide the fate of India in the World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23. Although India have a great record at home in Tests, Australia are extremely competitive and have developed a new aggressive look under the captaincy of Pat Cummins.
Most pitches in India generally favour spinners but pace bowlers can extract the moisture in the pitch early in the day and make the ball bounce from good length areas to give early breakthroughs. Also, they can be dangerous with the new ball and can also employ reverse swing when the ball gets old. Also, the pitch at Dharamsala, the venue for the third Test, favours pacers. So, fast bowlers will be in demand in the Test series.
India’s pace bowlers at home since 2017
Surprisingly, it is not Jasprit Bumrah or Mohammed Shami, but Umesh Yadav who has been the most impressive pacer in India since 2017, bagging 65 wickets in 16 Tests, followed by Shami with 38 wickets in 10 Tests in the given timeframe. Bumrah has played just 4 Tests in India since 2017 but bagged 14 wickets. Number 3 on the list is Ishant Sharma (38) who used to handle the new ball then, but he has now been phased out.
So, what does it imply?
Umesh Yadav has been the best pacer on Indian soil as he can extract bounce on even lifeless tracks meant for spinners. Either Mohammed Shami or Ishant Sharma has generally partnered Umesh in Tests in India since 2017. Bumrah, who has been the best India pacer overseas, could feature only in 4 Tests at home since 2017, but got maximum returns with 14 wickets and has the best bowling average in the list.
However, Ishant and Bumrah are not in the squad for the upcoming Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23. Ishant has been phased out while Bumrah is fighting a long injury layoff and making himself fit to return to international cricket. But Shami and Umesh are in the squad for the first two Tests with the ever-improving Siraj. The squad also has Jaydev Unadkat who recently returned to Test cricket after playing his first Test 12 years ago. Unadkat is also in top form as he recently bagged a hat-trick in the first over of a Ranji Trophy group-stage match.
Read More: IND v AUS, BGT 2022-23: Rahul & Rohit have blunted Cummins well as openers since BGT 2016-17
India’s pacers’ returns against Australia since 2017
Let’s take a look at how India’s pacers have performed in the Border Gavaskar Trophy since the 2016-17 series in India. For the record, India have won all the three Test series against Australia since 2016-17, one home and two away.
India’s Pacers in BGT 2016-17