Ind vs Eng 1st Test: Former Indian all-rounder questions Ishant Sharma selection for India’s playing XI

Ind vs Eng 1st Test: Former Indian all-rounder Madan Lal questioned Indian team management for picking Ishant Sharma for the first Test against England in Chennai. India have fielded three spinners, Shahbaz Nadeem, Washington Sundar and Ravichandran Ashwin, and two pacers, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah on a placid Chennai surface. Lal, a former Indian coach, however, was not convinced by it and reckoned that the team should have played two spinners and included an extra fast bowler in Mohammed Siraj or Shardul Thakur.

“I think India have not played with a balanced bowling attack,” Lal told Sports Tak during a conversation. “They should have played with three pacers and two spinners. Ishant Sharma has only just returned from an injury, so it would have been wise to play him after 1-2 Tests. They also dropped Mohammed Siraj, who bowled so well in Australia.”

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The combination of Thakur and Sundar played a crucial role to help India win the Gabba Test against Australia and seal the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. There were surprises over India picking Nadeem over the more experienced Kuldeep Yadav. The mystery spinner picked up a fifer in the last Test he played for India but the think tank gave a go-ahead to Nadeem, who has played just one Test for India.

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“If you wanted to bat deep, you could have played Shardul Thakur ahead of Washington Sundar and could have gone with Kuldeep Yadav over Shahbaz Nadeem,” Lal pointed out.

England finished Day 1 on 263/3 with skipper Joe Root peeling off his 20th Test century and Lal believed that if the visitors can finish somewhere around 450, India will have some work to do. “Joe Root has scored a really significant hundred. If England are able to reach the score of 450, the pressure might be on India,” Lal added.