With the third Test coming up, India may have a small headache picking Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav. Mohammad Siraj suffered a hamstring injury in the first innings of the second Test, and was limited in his bowling. He still bowled with injury, but the fire Siraj brings to the bowling attack was missing, and his pace was down. Over the past two series, Siraj has grown into one of India’s top Test bowlers, and there is a chance of him being rested, to look after his injury.
With Siraj sitting out, India will have to pick one out of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. Both bowlers are vastly experienced and were once the attack leaders. While Ishant Sharma has struggled for rhythm in recent times, Umesh Yadav has been at his best. With a lot of options though, Umesh couldn’t find a place in the eleven despite his brilliant form.
Umesh last played at the Oval, which was his first game in the fourth match of a five-match series. After waiting for an opportunity, Umesh Yadav bowled nicely, and took some key wickets using the unpredictable nature of the surface to his advantage. His ability to move the ball both ways was on display nicely, but even on days where the surface doesn’t help, Umesh Yadav can be a handful. He is among the fastest bowlers in the squad, and is skiddy in nature. With his skillset, Yadav can target the stumps well, but at times is a bit expensive due to his nature of bowling.
Ishant Sharma missed the Oval Test due to an injury, but may have been out even if fit. His form in Headingly was dipping, and the rhythm was completely off. Ishant Sharma got another chance in Kanpur, but couldn’t impress. He has shown glimpses of his early self, spraying the ball around and conceding runs easily.
Ishant’s lack of rhythm though could be due to the nature of his injuries. Since the beginning of 2020, Ishant Sharma was on and off with injury, and missed a few Tests during the period. While he was valuable in Lords, getting India into the game with key wickets, Ishant Sharma struggled in Headingly, putting doubts over his form and future again.
With an injury in the side, Sharma may get a chance to find his flow again. He has a slight advantage over Umesh Yadav due to his height. Height is a factor in which India has been lacking this series, as the South African pacers are considerably taller, and have been able to make better use of the inconsistent bounce on offer. While Ishant is no longer a hit the deck bowler, his height could still come as an advantage even as he sticks to his style of bowling full and swinging the ball.
If India however feels they need a faster bowler, who could also swing the ball both ways, Umesh Yadav will be the likely pick, despite his tendency to go for runs. Both bowlers have been apart of the set-up for a long time, and will be eager to get out their and make a stake for themselves as regular members again.