India’s squad composition for the T20 World Cup seems a “bit risky” as they are probably “a pacer short” for the bouncy pitches Down Under, feels former Australia speedster Mitchell Johnson.
The skillful Mohammad Shami has been kept on standby which has surprised a few experts of the game as Indian selectors kept faith on the quartet led by Jasprit Bumrah with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel and Arshdeep Singh in its ranks.
“If you got an all-rounder (fast bowling) and couple of spinners, four fast bowlers it is a bit of a risk.
But India are probably looking at playing two pacers and an all rounder (Hardik Pandya) and two spinners,” Johnson, who is in India to take part in Legends League Cricket, told PTI.
“In Australia, you surely need to play three fast bowlers, possibly four in certain conditions, for example Perth.
I guess they have a plan going in but it is a bit of a risk if you only take four (pacers),” the former left-arm tearaway quick.
In Indian set-up, only Bumrah is the man, who can consistently clock 140 clicks upwards but pace can’t be the only criteria to form a potent bowling unit, Johnson opined.
In the recently held Asia Cup in the UAE, India were criticised for their bowling depth (or lack of it) in the absence of Bumrah while Pakistan boasted of bowlers who rattled the batters with their express pace.
However, Johnson finds the emphasis on pace funny. “Those kind of things are funny (That all should bowl at 145 plus). If someone can bowl 145 plus, you don’t need another guy bowling at the same pace. You need guys that back each other up, work together.”
He then cited how Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, two fast medium seam bowlers complemented him during the 2013-14 Ashes where England were literally drubbed.
“During the 2013-14 Ashes, there was a lot of talk about me bowling fast and that was great but at the other end I had Peter Siddle and Ryan Harris who had their own strengths and could also hit 140s. So it is all about the balance in the team.
“The main thing in Australia is the extra bounce and pace and adjusting your length, you can get carried away and bowl a bit too short.”
‘Warner or Smith should not be made Australia captain’
Aaron Finch’s retirement from ODIs has ignited an intense debate over his successor.
David Warner, who had copped a lifelong leadership for his role in the ball tampering scandal in 2018, has expressed a strong desire to lead Australia while Steve Smith, who had received a two-year captaincy ban after the incident in South Africa, is another option.
Johnson however feels both players are at the fag end of their careers and therefore, the team should have a younger leader.
“Pat Cummins (Test skipper) may not able to do all formats.
It might be too much workload for him, but then I look and check who is available.
“The selectors have someone in in mind may be Glenn Maxwell.
Cameron Green will also be a good choice if you are looking a the future but there is already heavy workload for him as an all-rounder.
Travis Head is there but he needs to be more consistent.
“Both Warner and Smith should not be captains. No issue with them being advisors of the team which they already are. I don’t see why this needs to be brought up all over again, it brings back the old stuff (the scandal). ”
“They are also towards the end of their careers so it should be someone who has got more time in the game.”
On growth of domestic T20 leagues across globes
Johnson ended the conversation with his thoughts on the debate over mushrooming T20 leagues and international cricket.
Players are giving up national contracts to play in leagues around the world.
“When I first heard about all this, emotions rise, you think about loyalty to your country and things like that but the game has changed, players are changing,” he said referring to Trent Boult’s decision to let go of his central contract with New Zealand.
“There are many leagues around, players have to be smart about what they play in.
There is going to burn-out in T20 leagues as well.
I rather be more traditional, players wanting to play for their country but I understand the need to earn a living as well.
It is a concern going forward,” said the left-arm pacer.
In India for Legends League Cricket, Johnson is excited about catching up with his rivals from all around the world.
“I got here tomorrow. I never wanted to play after I retired and bowling again doesn’t come naturally (after you are done) but it is exciting to be able to meet all the players you played with and against,” he added.