‘First time I will face him in long-form cricket’: Steve Smith admits he needs to be ‘watchful’ against ‘quality’ India pacer in Ishant Sharma’s absence – cricket


Australia batsman Steve Smith feels India will miss the services of Ishant Sharma, whose absence he believes will be felt by India given the experience he brings to the table. However, Smith is not taking India’s bowling attack lightly, which he calls one of the best in the world. The former Australia captain, who missed the last Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which India won 2-1 in Australia, due to his ban, is eager to come up against India’s formidable bowling attack, which comprises the in-form pace duo of Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.

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In Ishant Sharma’s absence, a couple of youngsters – Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini – will be keen to make a mark as the third seam-bowling option. However, the one bowler Smith cannot wait to square up against is Bumrah, who since his Test debut in January of 2018 has become a revelation for the Indian cricket team. Bumrah claimed 21 wickets from four Tests down under in 2018/19, including best of 6/33 and Smith is aware of the threat the 27-year-old possesses.

“I don’t know if I will do anything specific but yeah (this will be the) first time I will have (to) face him in long-form cricket. But I think his skill-sets won’t probably change too much. We know how he bowls. He has got a good pace. He has got that awkward action, very different to a lot of people,” Smith told reports about Bumrah.

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“You got to be pretty watchful all the time and he is a quality bowler. I am excited at coming up against him in this series. You like coming up against the best and he is certainly up there with them.”

Besides Bumrah, Smith has faced the likes of Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav before in Tests, and is banking on his experience of tackling them. Smith admits that Ishant’s absence will be a loss for India.

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“They are a good line-up. Pretty experienced. Shami has played a lot of cricket, Bumrah has played a reasonable amount of cricket. He is a quality bowler. Whichever spinner they use, (Ravichandran) Ashwin or (Ravindra) Jadeja or Kuldeep (Yadav), I am not sure – we’ll wait and see, but they’ve all played a fair bit of cricket now,” said Smith.

“Their third quick hasn’t played as much cricket whoever they go with there. They are all good bowlers and yeah, we are going to be at our best as a batting group. This summer, we are going to beat them. Ishant Sharma is probably a big loss for them. He has obviously played a lot of cricket now and he is a good bowler. So yeah, maybe without him, their bowling attack may not be their strongest. I am sure they would have loved him to play.”


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