Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has criticised Indian captain Virat Kohli and team management's decision to play Ishant Sharma over an in-form Mohammed Siraj in the India vs England 1st Test. Siraj, who led the Indian pace attack with flamboyance in the historic Brisbane Test, was overlooked as India decided to include Ishant in the playing XI who is coming after a long injury layoff.
The decision to play Ishant ahead of Siraj hasn't gone down well with Gambhir. During a video discussion on ESPNCricinfo, Gambhir was asked if he would have gone with Siraj instead of an experienced Ishant. Gambhir replied in the affirmative, reasoning that Ishant hasn’t played red-ball cricket for a very long time. He added that Ishant played in the IPL where he got injured and then he has played only T20 cricket.
Gambhir further said that 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. The southpaw reckoned that you might have to bowl more than 15-16 overs. He reiterated that it’s always easy to bowl in T20 cricket but not in red-ball cricket where you got to make things happen. Gambhir stated that if he was the captain, he would have Ishant bowl a couple of lengthy spells at the nets and regain his bowling fitness and give Siraj a go-ahead.
The former cricketer said that India might need to play three seamers with the pink ball at Motera. Gambhir added that he would have definitely built Ishant for Motera or probably for the second Test match and gone with Siraj because the latter is coming on the back of a fabulous tour of Australia where he has bowled such long spells.
After deciding to bat first, England made a steady start to their innings. Openers Rory Burns and Dominic Sibley successfully managed to tackle the Indian bowlers. However, just at the stroke of Lunch on Day of India vs England 1st Test, a bizarre shot from Burns led to his downfall for 33. Daniel Lawrence who came to bat at No.3 was sent back immediately by Bumrah for a duck as the Indian picked up his first Test wicket at home.
At the time of publishing this article, England's scoreboard read 205/2 after 74 overs. Sibley is batting on 67 while Root is unbeaten on 94. The visitors would hope that the pair carries on in the same fashion and propel the side to a massive total. On the other hand, the hosts will look to break the dangerous partnership as England are in the driver's seat at the moment.
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