Former India cricketer Pragyan Ojha did not agree with skipper Virat Kohli’s decision to send in Jasprit Bumrah to bat at number 3 as a nightwatchman in the second innings of the first Test against Australia in Adelaide.Ojha believes Bumrah is the team’s best bowling asset who should have been protected and someone other than him should have been sent in, if at all a nightwatchman was needed.
The need for nightwatchman popped up after Indian opener Prithvi Shaw once again let the side down as he got out for just 4 runs and India wanted to save Cheteshwar Pujara for the next day when he could start fresh. India had options in the form of Ravi Ashwin, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, but it was Bumrah who was chosen for the task.“Bumrah with the ball is a bigger asset than going out there and batting. I would not have sent him. I would have sent somebody else but not him because he is your number one bowler,” former spinner Ojha told Sports Today.
He added that when fast bowlers travel abroad, they put an extra layer of protection in their shoes while batting to avoid injuries which can cost the series and to take such a chance with Bumrah, when there are still three Tests to go, was not a wise choice.Notably, Bumrah had just scored his first half century in one of the practice Tests against Australia A. This was probably the thought behind promoting him up the order.
Contrary to Ojha’s opinion, former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta thought using Bumrah as nightwatchman wasn’t such a bad decision. He admitted that though he would himself have opted to send in Ravi Ashwin for the role, he was fine with Bumrah too. “I would have asked Ashwin if he wanted to go as a nightwatchman even though he’s a proper batsman. But I’m alright with Bumrah,” he said. Bumrah did manage to get through the day, but it did not help India much as Pujara was claimed for a duck anyway as India registered 36 runs, their lowest total ever in Test cricket.