Former England left-arm spinner Monty Panesar believes India must consider playing all-rounder Shardul Thakur ahead of speedster Jasprit Bumrah in the first Test against England.
Bumrah looked off-colour in the World Test Championship final and that will be a huge worry for India. Monty Panesar feels Bumrah’s go-to delivery hits the back-of-the-length and that he needs to bowl fuller to be successful in English conditions.
In a video on the YouTube channel ‘Behind The Stumps with Anuj’, Monty Panesar explained why someone like Shardul Thakur can be more effective than Bumrah in these conditions.
“I think Jasprit Bumrah needs to pitch it up a little bit and move more in the air. He bowls like that back of a length a little quick and that is going to beat the bat most of the times. I just don’t think his natural length is to hit the top of off-stump. His natural length is to slightly bowl a yard shorter and to bowl it real quick. So I think Shardul Thakur will be a better option. He can bat as well,” Panesar opined.
Shardul Thakur bowls a length that suits the English conditions: Monty Panesar
One of India’s major problems in the recent past has been cleaning the opposition tail and the same was on display in the WTC final. The likes of Sam Curran have troubled the visitors in their last visit in 2018.
However, Monty Panesar believes India can utilise Shardul Thakur in that phase. The 39-year-old feels Thakur’s ability to produce genuine outswing and his natural fuller length will force the batsmen to play false shots.
“Shardul Thakur will be a good option against the England tail because he pitches the ball up. He does bowl that natural English conditions length. In England it is about hitting the top of off-stump,” Monty Panesar concluded.
Only time will tell whether India will back their combination that played in the WTC final, or whether they will give Shardul Thakur a chance.