Australia batsman Steve Smith on Thursday said that it will be a “big loss” for the Indian team to play the Test series in the absence of experienced pacer Ishant Sharma, who was ruled out of the series. Ishant had sustained a side strain during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 13th edition. The pacer recovered from the injury at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) but he is building up his workload in order to achieve Test match fitness. India’s pace bowling line-up will be now led by Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Mohammed Shami. Both Bumrah and Shami were the central figures in their 2018-19 series victory.
“They’re experienced now, particularly Shami and Bumrah. Ishant Sharma is probably a big loss for them…he’s played a lot of cricket now and is a good bowler. Without him it may not be their strongest because I’m sure they’d like him to play, no doubt,” Smith said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.
The visitors will have the trio of R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav to choose the right option suitable for the conditions.
“Shami’s played a lot of cricket, Bumrah’s played a reasonable amount of cricket and is a quality bowler. Whichever spinner they use – Ashwin, Jadeja, Kuldeep – we’ll wait and see there but they’ve all played a fair bit of cricket now. They’re all good bowlers and we’re going to have to be at our best if we’re going to beat them,” Smith said.
“His skillsets won’t change too much. We know how he bowls, he’s got good pace, he’s got that awkward action, very different to a lot of people so you’ve got to be pretty watchful all the time and he’s a quality bowler, I’m excited to be coming up against him in this series. You like to be coming up against the best and he’s certainly up there with them,” he added.
When India had last toured Australia in 2018, the visitors had managed to win their first Test series Down Under. The Kohli-led side had defeated Australia 2-1 in the four-match series.
During that particular series, Steve Smith and David Warner were not a part of the Australia squad as they were then serving their one-year ban for the involvement in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa.
India and Australia will now be seen in action in the upcoming four-match Test series. The first match will be a day-night affair and Kohli will head back home after the first Test as he has been granted paternity leave by the BCCI.
Commenting on Kohli’s paternity leave, Smith said, “It’s a big-loss for India, we all know Virat is a world-class player. Look, I think you have to give some credit to him, we all know how much he loves playing down here. But at the end of the day, he is a human being and he has got a life outside of cricket, credit to him that he wants to be with his wife for the birth of his first child.”
The first Test of the series will be a pink-ball contest, beginning December 17 at Adelaide. Australia had won the ODI series while India walked away with the T20I series win.
Topics mentioned in this article