The former Australia fast bowler believes the current attack comprising of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav is the finest Indian pace unit to ever tour Australia.
India are slated to take on Australia in a three T20s before the highly anticipated four-Test series between the two sides gets underway on December 6.
Fleming feels India’s fast-bowling arsenal could nullify that of Australia and the Test series could come down to the batting.
“That’s as impressive a pace attack that I have ever seen India bring out to Australia. They are actually quite experienced now, too,” Fleming was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Our pace attack is great, too, so it’s going to be a shootout between two good pace attacks. It’s going to get down to those batsmen.”
Fleming, who played 20 Tests and 88 ODIs for Australia, reserved special praise for Bhuvneshwar who he feels is the best swing bowler in the world along with England’s James Anderson.
“I love watching Bhuvi because, probably with James Anderson, they are the best swing bowlers in the world. He actually has the skills where he can bowl outswingers and inswingers to right and left-handed batsmen. When he first started, he lacked a yard or two in Test cricket, but he has increased his pace a little bit in the past two years,” Fleming stated.
However, Fleming believes it is Bumrah who brings the X-factor into the Indian attack.
“He (Bumrah) is the real X-factor – 28 wickets in six Tests. I have seen him in the IPL. He has that unorthodox action, a stuttery run-up, a weird run-up but I think for batsmen you don’t get a real good sight of the ball but he has got pace and bounce and has a great yorker that I think he will utilise particularly against the tail. That’s the factor they probably haven’t had before – a pace battery that could unsettle tails,” he said.
Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah could be in action for India when they take on Australia in the opening T20 at Brisbane on November 21.
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Du Plessis and his men are set to take on the Aussies in a one-off T20 at the Gold Coast on Saturday. The Proteas had won the preceding three-match ODI series between the two sides 2-1.
Addressing the media ahead of the clash, the Proteas skipper spoke about how Australia’s attempt to overhaul their cricket culture could go against the side’s strengths.
“There is a transition they are going through at the moment where they are trying to build up a new culture however long that will take,” Du Plessis was quoted as saying by The Australian.
“But I believe you should never take away your uniqueness or strength. Obviously, there are laws which you can’t cross but if your strength is to get inside guys faces then use that.
“But don’t become someone you are not. When guys are not authentic they are not the best cricketers they can be.”
Ever since Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were implicated in the ball-tampering saga which erupted in Newlands earlier in the year, Australian cricket has been trying to overhaul its image under new coach Justin Langer.
The South African skipper revealed that sledging from Australia had reduced in the ODI series.
“Australia is probably the hardest to play against because they were the fiercest. Comparing that to now you can see they are obviously trying to minimise it more and let the cricket do the talking,” said Du Plessis.
“That is where the game is heading anyway. Chirping is not a big part of cricket … there has been big difference in the way they talk in the field.”
After New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to bat first, Pakistan bowlers bundled out the visitors for just 153 runs in their first innings. In reply, Pakistan had reached 59-2 by the time stumps were drawn on day one.
Haris Sohail starred for Pakistan with both bat and ball on Friday. Here, we take a closer look at the southpaw’s display.
OVERS BOWLED: 8
RUNS CONCEDED: 11
BALLS FACED: 40
With the pitch giving assistance to spinners, Sohail was given the ball by Sarfraz Ahmed and he immediately found sharp turn with his left-arm spin. The 29-year-old tightened Pakistan’s grip on the game by pinning Ish Sodhi and the last recognised batsman in BJ Watling lbw to reduce the Kiwis to 133-8.
Sohail was soon called into action with the bat when Pakistan openers Imam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez fell in quick succession and avoided further damage by putting together an assured stand along with Azhar Ali. The left-hander safely negotiated a tricky period towards the close of play and put Pakistan in a strong position to push ahead on day two.
With the ball, Sohail got prodigious turn and managed to bamboozle Watling. Squaring the New Zealand wicketkeeper batsman up with a beautifully flighted delivery, Sohail extinguished any hopes the tourists had of salvaging their first innings.
With the bat, he came in at a time that Pakistan were pegged back early. Sohail looked assured in his 40-ball unbeaten stay at the crease and had settled down well at the crease by the time the day’s play ended.
There was not much Sohail did wrong with either ball or bat on day one. He is not a specialist spinner and did as well a job as Sarfraz could have asked for with the ball. With the bat, he barely made any mistakes with his shot selection and was largely comfortable at the crease.
VERDICT – 8/10
Having been unlucky with injuries in the past, Sohail is slowly becoming a regular member of Pakistan’s Test squad. The talented all-rounder is clearly relishing being given an extended run for the first time and helped Pakistan seize control on day one with valuable contributions.
His job, however, is not yet done and he has a big day with the bat coming up on Saturday. Sohail has made a habit of getting starts in his previous matches but not converting them and he now has the chance to register his first Test half-century in over a year. Should he do that, he could put Pakistan in an even stronger position.