Tendulkar: Indian bowling misses variation of left-arm seamer

The Indian batting legend spoke about the chance Virat Kohli's men have against the South African team and the factors which will come in play.

Zaheer Khan was India's premier pacer during the 2000s.   -  K.R. Deepak

Even as the Indian team gears up for the opening game of the Test series, it will miss its strike bowler in Jasprit Bumrah, who is out with a stress fracture. Indian great Sachin Tendulkar agrees that skipper Virat Kohli will miss the bowler's services, but believes that India has the required strength in the bowling attack to make up for Bumrah’s loss.

“In the fast bowling department, we have got good back-up with plenty of experience now so we are in that fortunate position where even on the bench we have got very good options. We will miss Bumrah but not to the extent where if he had been playing for some other country where if you didn’t have many fast bowlers, you would miss your strike bowler.

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"When it comes to spin bowling, the combination we have has delivered for a number of years and so, I feel that our bowling should be able to create that pressure on South African batting,” Tendulkar explained.

While the Indian team does boast a quality bowling attack, the team is still looking for someone who can replicate Zaheer Khan's qualities.

“Yes, a left-arm seamer would bring in variety as more the variation, tougher it gets for the batsman. He would come into play on the first morning and more so when a team bowls third or fourth as the left-arm seamer would create the rough areas wherein the off-spinner bowling from the opposite end would use the rough... just like a left-arm spinner uses the rough created by the right-arm seamer. So, a left-arm seamer adds value to the team as a wicket-taking bowler as also in creating that rough patch for an off-spinner,” he pointed out.

India at home has been almost invincible in recent times and the master feels that South Africa will have its task cut out, especially with the Indian bowlers putting the SG ball to great use on Indian pitches.

“This series is going to be a decent series. South Africa have very few batters who have come here and played in the longer format. So, somewhere they will have to make a lot of adjustments and change their thinking and game. There is no option but to be positive in mind. The Indian bowlers know exactly how to use the SG ball and there are stages during those 80 overs that the ball does peculiar things and that is something which our team understands very well. That is going to be a key factor as in when the ball starts moving and stopping. How long it has that zip off the surface, all that factors come into play.

“I have noticed in India it is not always the new ball which is difficult to play. Sometimes, it is the ball after the 15th over and till the 45-50th over that is the tough period to play. I think all these elements will come into play when the Indian bowlers are bowling and even when we bat, we would know how to handle the South African bowlers. Yes, I have to say there are some good bowlers (in the Proteas team) so one would have to be on their toes and build partnerships,” he said.

Asked about the Indian batting, Tendulkar said that there are some brilliant guys in there and for South Africa to do well, they will have to put big runs on the board.

“We have got some terrific batters in the team where Rohit (Sharma) would be opening, Ajinkya (Rahane) will be back in the team with more surety, (Cheteshwar) Pujara is there, Virat is there, (Hanuma) Vihari...a number of guys are there. They will all add value and I see this series as a tough one for South Africa. A lot will depend on how many runs they put on the board. If they don’t put big runs on the board, I think it is going to be tough for them,” he said.