The first Test between India and England ended in a draw, while the two teams won one Test each (India at Lord’s and England at Headingley), and the series is currently locked at 1-1 with two Tests to go.
On being asked about the strengths and weaknesses of the current Indian fast bowling attack in foreign conditions, Nehra, who has played 17 Tests and has 44 Test wickets to his name, told TimesofIndia.com: “It is very difficult to play in English conditions. We have seen that, especially with the Dukes Ball. And when you talk about Test cricket, you plan according to the conditions as well as how the batsman plays. But one thing (which bowlers should focus on), in any format, especially in Test cricket, which hasn’t changed and will never change, doesn’t matter what the conditions are, are your line and length.”
In the list of the highest wicket takers in the Test series so far, there are three Indians in the top 5 – Jasprit Bumrah (14), Mohammed Siraj (13) and Mohammed Shami (11).
Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Siraj (Reuters Photo)
England’s Ollie Robinson is leading the tally with 16 wickets in 3 Tests, while Bumrah is second with 14 scalps, Mohammed Siraj fourth with 13 wickets, and Mohammed Shami fifth with 11 wickets under his belt so far. Veteran England pacer Jimmy Anderson is third on the list with 13 wickets to his name so far. Bumrah is the only Indian pacer in the series who has a five-wicket haul, which he claimed in the opening Test at Trent Bridge which ended in a draw.
Apart from Bumrah, Robinson has two and Anderson has one five-fors to their names in the series so far.
“When we talk about a guy like Jimmy Anderson who swings the ball, we have to see from where he swings the ball. It’s (from) a good line and length. Somebody like Mohammed Shami seaming the ball. He always gets a wicket. The only time when a bowler gets a wicket is when he bowls consistently. Line and length are very important. Not just in England, if you bowl in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, or in Australia, if you are bowling at a good line and length, you are going to be successful,” Nehra further told TimesofIndia.com.
“You ask this (same) question to a batter. A batter who negotiates a good line and length more often than not is a successful guy. It is not like a batsman like Sachin Tendulkar scored 50 centuries in 50 Test matches. It took a number of Test matches to get there. If you see Virat Kohli or Viv Richards who have a batting average of above 50, but are not scoring in every game. So, against any batter that’s what Jasprit Bumrah has been doing, that’s what Jimmy Anderson has been doing. That’s what good bowlers have been doing. There is no rocket science in that.”
James Anderson (AP Photo)
Nehra also highlighted the fact that Anderson, who has played 165 Tests for England and has 630 wickets to his name, largely sticks to the basics.
“When you have conditions like in England, then it is more important because you don’t have to try too many different things because you are getting success if you can do that. Jimmy Anderson is 39 and he is not someone who bowls at 127 or 129. Whenever he wants to bowl 135 or 137, he can do that. But rarely will you see a bouncer from Jimmy Anderson, because he doesn’t need to do that. Because he is getting success from good line and length,” Nehra signed off.
You can watch the India vs England series on Sony Sports Network.