Bewildering Bench Strength

Indian cricket's bench strength is increasing like never before and in the process puts a stiff challenge to senior cricketers
Bewildering Bench Strength

Ever since the start of Indian tour of Australia in the year 2020 we have been witnessing young players making their debut – Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, Natarajan etc. Shardul Thakur test appearance can also be termed as debut as he played barely some balls in his first test against England before injury forced him out of the match. Against English men, Axar Patel made his debut in Test match cricket and some more players like Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav made their debut in T-20 format whereas Krunal Pandya and Prasidh Krishna made their debut in One Day international cricket recently.

Some players made international appearance when seniors were injured and some others when seniors' performance was not upto the mark. All these players made a mark on International cricket like duck to the water and gave excellent performance when the opportunities bestowed upon them.

Shubman Gill

Shubman Gill scores of 45,35 and 91 in Australia paved the way for solid starts at the begining of Indian innings. One of the great aspect of his batting is he never spends too much time to settle at the crease and his shots are a treat to watch.

Mohammed Siraj

Mohammed Siraj came in place of injured Mohammed Shami and immediately struck to line and length and moved the ball both ways to trouble the Aussie batsmen. He bagged good number of wickets including a fifer against Kangaroos. He spearheaded Indian bowling attack successfully with two match experience in the absence of injury ridden senior players. He was with the Indian team in Australia even when his father expired in India.

Shardul Thakur

Shardul Thakur's produced a memorable in innings of clean hitting with a score of 67 and also bagged a total of 7 wickets in Brisbane Test. He along with Washington Sundar produced a decent partnership that was instrumental in coming nearer to Australian first innings total. Shardul Thakur has made it a habit of claiming pair of wickets in the middle or end of the innings recently


T. Natarajan, who came as a net bowler but ended up becoming first Indian cricketer to make his International debut in all the three formats in the same tour. Nattu, fondly called by his team mates, is a yorker specialist in limited overs cricket.He gave decent performance in Aussie tour in all three formats.

Washington Sundar

Washington Sundar, was primarily retained as a net bowler in Australia. Sundar, who came in place of injured Ashwin scored 62 and 22 , bagged a total of 4 wickets in Brisbane test. Against England he scored 85 not out in the first innings of Chennai first Test and 96 not out in fourth Test at Ahmedabad.

Axar Patel

Axar Patel along with Ravichandran Aswin spun a web against England batsmen, to clinch the Test series. He claimed four fifers in his international debut series.English batmen faced difficulties in reading his bowling and had a memorable debut series against Three Lions.

Ishan Kishan

With spectacular IPL performances behind him, Ishan Kishan made his International debut in second T-20 match against England and produced a quickfire 56 and along with captain virat Kohli produced a good partnership that paved way for an Indian victory.

Surya Kumar Yadav

Surya Kumar Yadav popularly known as SKY had to wait for considerable period to have an appearance in International cricket, even though he had a memorable innings at IPL, When finally door opened for him in fourth ODI, he grabbed the opportunity with both hands with scores of 57 & 32 in fourth and fifth T-20 matches against England.

Krunal Pandya

Krunal Pandya, The elder brother of Hardik Pandya, made his International debut in the first ODI at Pune, with good performances in Vijay Hazare tournment. He produced sparkling innings of 58 and his whirlwind knock in just 22 balls is the fastest fifty by a debutant in International cricket.

Prasidh Krishna

Prasidh Krishna bagged four wickets in his first match and became the first Indian player to capture four wickets on debut. He got appreciation for his terrific yorker that dismissed Jos Buttler. According to Sunil Gavaskar, Prasidh krishna can be considered for red ball test cricket as he is having genuine pace and  more variation in his bowling.

All these stats tell one common point that Indian cricket bench strength is increasing like never before and in the process put a stiff challenge for senior cricketers also. The success of our bench strength can be attributed to meticulous planning of Indian Think-Tank in giving international exposure to fringe players even before they made International debuts in the form of Indian – A tours. Rahul Dravid played his part in molding their careers in Indian – A tours

Indian Premier League (IPL) pushed a number of talented players to the fore by giving a number of opportunities at the highest level where younger players have rubbed their shoulders with senior Indian as well as foreign players. The IPL matches not only gave numerous opportunities but also took the nervousness out of current younger generation players when they made International debut. Now the situation has reached such a stage that for each batting / bowling slot three Indian players are competing, which augurs well for future Indian cricket. With the current available talent workload management of the players can easily be planned and if a player is injured in between the series, his replacement is readily available.

As Inzamam-ul-Haq, former Pakistan captain, has rightly pointed out that India has set up some sort of machine to manufacture new players which gives senior cricketers a clear signal to perform well to stay in the side. Kohli before the start of the T-20 series mentioned Indian team will play fearless cricket that batting or bowling first or even winning or losing of toss either doesn't matter for a champion time. With current crop of available bench players to deliver the goods as and when required, it seems it is not an impossible task to lift coveted World Test championship and T-20 World Cups to be held later this year and sky is the limit for their performance. This bewildering bench strength of India, along with regular members, has made the team to bounce back against Kangaroos and Three Lions. Kudos to Indian bench strength !!

V. Nagendra Kumar is HVAC Engineer and a Freelance Journalist

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