Trent Bridge, July 29: Indian captain M S Dhoni will have to stop vacillating between available Indian pacers S Sreesanth and Munaf Patel and bite the bullet by choosing one over the other. With the injured Zaheer Khan needing to be urgently replaced as India go into the crucial second test against England, this is undoubtedly a key decision the skipper will have to take before toss time.
Sreesanth trumps Munaf Patel in terms of the amount of pace he is able to generate, bowling consistently above 140 km/hr. But on a placid Trent Bridge wicket, this may be a bane rather than a boon for Team India.
Munaf meanwhile, only delivers the ball at around 130 km, but as he has demonstrated in the 2010-11 stint in South Africa and in the World Cup that followed, his accuracy is far superior to Sreesanth's. Munaf scrambles his lengths deftly, creating just enough doubt in the batsman's mind to play a faulty shot.
Sreesanth may possess the enviable ability to swing the new ball, but he fails to bowl within his limits and tries to be the maverick he is not. His prodigious outswing is there for all to see, but it appears he hasn't quite figured out where to pitch the ball. His over-zest for pace makes him compromise on a line and length that is needed to unsettle batsmen.
Rather than hit a full-length zone and allow the ball to swing late, he often falls short of the mark, according the batter ample time to unleash any one of a range of cover drives and square-cuts.
But, simultaneously there is doubt whether Munaf can last out the long game, while Sreesanth always seems raring to go. This point may be at the crux of the debate raging in Dhoni's mind. We will soon know who the winner is...