The Indian team management brought back Mohammed Shami into the playing eleven for the fourth Test against Australia, whereas Mohammed Siraj was rested.
After missing out on the third Test in Indore due to workload management, Shami looked in shape and claimed a couple of crucial wickets. The visiting team found it a challenge to play his short balls, while Umesh Yadav struggled.
Though the team management’s decisions to rest players after a couple of games have raised eyebrows, India’s bowling coach Paras Mhambrey defended the decision.
“You have to take a call as you also have to look at the individual workload of each bowler. The way we looked at Shami, we needed to give him that break, and it was an opportunity for us that someone like Siraj or Umesh also gets a game. Looking ahead after this series, we have the World Test Championship (final) and we need to look at that as well. We have to see that everyone gets an opportunity but I don’t see that as a problem,” Mhambrey said. “You have to, at times, rotate bowlers and it is important for players as well…”
The team management knew that the Narendra Modi Stadium surface will aid the batters. There were conversations with the bowlers on the challenges of playing on such a track and how they should approach the situation.
“In the first session, they batted well. Initially, the runs were leaked, but the second session was good for us… (but) we conceded 56 in the last 10 overs and I thought the game slightly drifted from us there,” Mhambrey admitted. “If it was 220 for four by the end of the day, it would have been good for us. We gave slightly more runs in the last session…”
Umesh, who claimed three wickets in the Indore Test, looked off-colour in Ahmedabad and failed to make an impact. But Mhambrey backed the pacer. “He looked in great rhythm in Indore. There are days when you land up not getting a rhythm,” Mhambrey said, adding that Umesh bounced back after a lacklustre first spell. “Later on, he put the ball in the right areas and was effective for us…”
Talking about Axar Patel who was given just 12 overs, the bowling coach said: “On a spinner friendly track, two bowlers will get a longer run than the third spinner.”
“Sometimes when two spinners are in rhythm, and as a captain when a left-hander is batting, Ash (Ashwin) will get a longer run. But tomorrow in the first spell, you will see Axar. He has played enough cricket to know his role in the team and that won’t affect his rhythm…” Mhambrey said, hoping that the pitch might offer a bit of turn as the game progresses.