What if something happens to Bumrah…’: Pathan warns IND after 1st SA Test loss | Cricket


There is a reason why India‘s 2020/21 Australia series win is so highly regarded, with former India cricketer Venkatesh Prasad recently calling it the nation’s “one of the greatest” achievements. From that infamous ’36 all out’ in Adelaide, India, in the absence of most of their regulars, scripted a 2-1 series win. In fact, in their monumental Gabba win, Indian pace attack was led by Mohammed Siraj, who had only made his debut earlier in that contest in Melbourne. If not anything, the series win highlighted the pool of talent at India’s disposal who were ready to take on the responsibility in any given situation. But former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan now rues the absence of it, especially in the pace-bowling unit, as he looked back at the team’s defeat by an innings last week in Centurion in the Test series opener in South Africa.

Irfan Pathan says what India need to focus on in 2024
Irfan Pathan says what India need to focus on in 2024

Speaking to Star Sports in what India need to focus on in 2024, Pathan was quick to mention that the selectors, in the wake of the Centurion loss, have to create a pool of 7-8 fast bowlers to pick from. He felt that as the Indian bowlers conceded 408 runs in the first innings at the SuperSport Park, the services of Mohammed Shami, out with ankle injury, was missed, before he warned the team management that if Jasprit Bumrah unfortunately incurs an injury as well, the pace unit will struggle even more.

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“India need to build a good fast-bowling unit. Look what happened in South Africa. The back-ups weren’t just ready. I won’t say that they lack quality, but since they weren’t ready, you felt Shami’s absence. So that means, god forbid, if something happens to Bumrah, who we have seen has suffered from an injury owing to his bowling action, we won’t find any bowler of his quality. So India need to prepare a pool of 7-8 fast bowlers either through talent hunts or through Ranji Trophy,” he said.

The other factor that the India legend urged BCCI to focus on was the leadership aspect, on who should replace Rohit Sharma as the next all-format skipper. Pathan feels that India should pick a leader more like Virat Kohli, who is fit enough to regularly play across formats, while also having 2-3 options in hand.

“Second is leadership. 2024 will witness a whole lot of changes, so if India can prepare 2-3 possible leaders, then it won’t trouble the team. But they also need to focus on the kind of leader they want to prepare. Under Virat Kohli, in those five years, India were brilliant in Test cricket and reached the No. 1 ranking. Overall, he himself is extremely fit as a cricketer and hence played almost all the matches, performed as well and got the team to perform. Even Rohit Sharma got the team to perform in the World Cup and won the Asia Cup as well. India need a captain who can play regularly, so he has to be fit enough for the role,” he added.

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