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Praveen's exit leaves India's pace attack inexperienced

Praveen Kumar's exit means Mahendra Singh Dhoni's pace attack for Tests in Australia will be more inexperienced

Praveen Kumar's fractured rib has ruled him out of next month's four-Test series in Australia. Praveen's absence from the Test squad is a severe blow for the already inexperienced Indian pace attack that has only two bowlers (Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma) with prior experience of Test cricket in Australia.


No swing in OZ: Praveen Kumar in full flow during the Lord's Test in
July. Pic/Getty Images


Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav and Praveen's replacement (a possible toss-up between Abhimanyu Mithun, Vinay Kumar and S Sreesanth) have all been Down Under, but playing a Test in front of 100,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is an experience that can make, or break a bowler, according to former India opener Aakash Chopra. "No doubt, it's a very inexperienced attack.



They might find it tough to handle the Kookaburra ball. The crowds will be intimidating too, especially on Boxing Day. But it's one of those things that can make, or break them. If you do well in Australia, people will give you a great ovation because it's the most knowledgeable cricket crowd. This tour will test the character of these young pacers," Chopra told MiD DAY yesterday.


Vinay Kumar (PK's possible replacements...)

Chopra, who was a part of the Indian squad that drew the Test series in 2003-04, felt the current attack was packed with hit-the-deck bowlers. "With Varun, Umesh and Ishant, you have bowlers who depend on pace and bounce. You can't only rely on pace and bounce, that's bread and butter for Aussies. On our last two trips there, we won Tests because of swing and seam (of Ajit Agarkar in 03-04 and Irfan Pathan in 07-08).


A Mithun (PK's possible replacements...)


Having said that, it's not just about swing and seam in Australia. It's not easy to bowl with the Kookaburra ball because the seam gets embedded. Even swing bowlers need to hit the deck hard, so that could work in India's favour. On the contrary, we could miss the swing of Irfan (Pathan) or RP (Singh) who did well in Australia before. That's why Zaheer's presence is so important.


S Sreesanth (PK's possible replacements...)

"If Zaheer gets injured again (like he did on the previous two tours), India would be on the backfoot almost immediately. I expect Ishant to do well but he needs Zaheer's support, " added Chopra. Meanwhile, Chopra nominated Mithun as Praveen's replacement. "I think he'd be the right pick because he hits the deck hard and comes hard at batsmen. He can also shape the ball in nicely," he said.

* Zaheer Khan
Overall Tests: 79
In Australia: 3
* Umesh Yadav
Overall Tests: 2
In Australia: 0
* Varun Aaron
Overall Tests: 1
In Australia: 0
* Ishant Sharma
Overall Tests: 41
In Australia: 3

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