Bubblewrap Bhuvnesh

Earlier this month, English footballer Michael Owen said he would have been at his best for longer had Liverpool used him more sparingly as a teenager. He said his body made him 'pay for pushing it to the limit too often.' When Australian pacer Mitchell Starc was rested for the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka despite setting up the win in the previous Test with a five-for, one wonders whether the Australian selectors were listening to Owen.

The 22-year old Starc was understandably 'shattered.' The selectors though, had to keep in mind upcoming tours to India and England, and Starc's tendency to break down. Not to mention their experience with the other promising but injury prone young pacers in Pat Cummins and James Patterson.

In a broad way, India's situation with its emerging fast bowlers and their injury predicament is not too different. India's pace cupboard may not be overflowing as in the case of the Aussies, but there is certainly no dearth of options. Just two of the top 10 wicket takers this Ranji season are spinners, and several of them youngsters. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 22, the first to dismiss Sachin Tendulkar for a duck in domestic cricket, had a dream debut of sorts in Bangalore. True, it was in a T20 game, but the there was no doubting the talent.

Be that as it may, the number of pacers who have played for India not too long ago but are currently either recuperating or making low key returns is not inconsiderable. Umesh Yadav, in terms of age and impact, presents a similar case to that of Starc. While the Australian is likely to visit India next year, Yadav is a major injury doubt. Not that the set back has had any kind of impact on policy making. Ishant Sharma, only recently returning from injury, is currently flitting between all three formats. So is Ashok Dinda. True, the benefits of rotation are reaped in the long run. But poor management could be instantly detrimental. India cannot afford to find out when Australia come visiting.

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