Opinion: Are India's bowlers up to the challenge in England?

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Bimal Mirwani foresees a very tough challenge for an Indian attack spearheaded by the temperamental Ishant Sharma and completed by three other seamers void of any Test experience.

It has been said time and time again that India's bowling attack struggles in foreign conditions. It has been said so many times that it is almost their slogan.

I tend to agree with this criticism as, in my opinion, India's bowlers are going to be under immense pressure and really feel the heat during this month's Test series against England.

Ishant Sharma is the only bowler who has experience playing in England. However, his average is nothing to be proud of as it stands at a dismal 58.18. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Shami, Varun Aaron, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja never having played a Test match in England, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is definitely going to be extremely concerned as he cannot rely on Sharma to deliver all the time.

Dhoni is going to need his other bowlers to try and help out in the mission to take 20 wickets in a match and that, in my eyes, is going to an extremely tough ask if none of his bowlers have ever played in England. In fact, three of India's pace bowlers – Ishwar Pandey, Stuart Binny and Pankaj Singh – are still yet to make their Test debuts.

India's main pacemen are aged between 24 and 25, which makes them highly inexperienced. I have included Sharma in that group as well since he has only played four Tests in England, which came all the way back in 2011. A lot has changed since then, including England's team and the conditions.

India's spinners are also going to be a factor in England, but Ashwin and Jadeja have never played there. Ashwin may have played against England in India, but even in spin-friendly conditions and on home soil, Ashwin averaged 52.64 with the ball. If that is what he averages at home, then I shudder to think what England will do to him in the upcoming five-Test series.

Continuing on the theme on conditions, all of India's bowlers, perhaps with the exception of Sharma, will take time to get accustomed to the conditions in England. India are more used to playing in blistering heat and high humidity, but the conditions are almost opposite in England. The majority of India's bowlers will not know what to expect, which will make it difficult for them to acclimate themselves to the cooler climate.

Coming into this series, India suffered a one-nil loss in South Africa and New Zealand, which highlights their lack of confidence and further bolsters the point that the team really do struggle in foreign conditions. England themselves are just recovering after being whitewashed by Australia in the last Ashes series.

After watching England's new recruits – Sam Robson and Gary Ballance – scoring centuries against Sri Lanka, India will not be able to rely as heavily on their batting as they are used to. Just look at what happened in the second Test against New Zealand in Wellington. India took a huge first innings lead, but that soon evaporated after New Zealand amassed a mammoth total of 680 for eight before putting India out of their misery by declaring.

India's bowlers were nowhere near up to par and the New Zealand batsmen simply helped themselves to free runs, which helped improve their own records. In fact, New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum became the first cricketer from his country to score a triple-century in that match.

The bowlers can thank their lucky stars two warm-up matches gave them an opportunity to loosen up and gain some much-needed confidence ahead of the clash with a rather young England side who are determined to restore their tattered reputation.

<b>Bimal Mirwani</b>

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