Best Indian Bowling Unit Ever?
By Rajlaxmi Arora
January 25 2018
One of the things to note is that India have bowled out South Africa 5 times in 5 innings in the Tests in South Africa so far, and if their batsmen can apply themselves and give the bowlers a decent total to defend in the 4th innings in Johannesburg they could do it for a sixth time and in the process help India win the match. This contrasts with the serious lack of quality spinners that South Africa the current No. 2 Test side has, no disrespect to Keshav Maharaj. India on the other hand have two of the BEST spinners in the world in the two Ravis: Ashwin and Jadeja, supported by a plethora of classy back ups such as Amit Mishra, Kuldip Yadav, Yuzuvendra Chahal, etc. And they also have a phalanx of fast men who are comparable to any fast bowling unit in the world. The Indian bowling coach B. Arun explains how this came about.
Fit, agile, accurate are a few adjectives that describe Virat Kohli and his current Indian team. With all departments of the game duly covered, it makes this team one of the best in world cricket as it stands firm as No.1 Test team and joint No.1 in ODIs.
While the batting prowess has been on display for a while, the bowling unit has come to the fore off late with some exceptional performances and revelations.
Legends of the game call the current Indian bowling unit as one of the best and versatile line-up with a lot of young guns pitching in with some spellbinding performances.
From a debutant picking up four crucial wickets against world-class batsmen and changing the course of the game to another pace bowler who picked up the most wickets in a bilateral series featuring five matches, the young guns have come on in leaps and bounds.
We at bcci.tv, caught up with Team India’s bowling coach, Mr. B Arun and found out more about the current bowling setup, rotation policies and more….
You were a part of the coaching team a couple of years ago and you came back this year. What do you make of this Indian team, especially the bowling unit?
I am honoured to be a part of this Indian team. It just feels like you’ve never left this team. There was a year’s gap, but having worked earlier with the same team and coming back again this year feels like you’re home again. What I make of this team is that it is probably one of the most versatile bowling attacks India has ever had. Extremely talented, which could suit any conditions.
Cricket pundits call this bowling unit as one of India’s best with the armory equally poised in Test cricket and limited overs. Your thoughts?
Like I mentioned that this is India’s most versatile bowling attack. Each one is different. If you look at the four fast bowlers we have, each one is very unique. Umesh Yadav is very good with the new ball and the old ball as he reverses it well.
Ishant Sharma has got the extra bounce, which makes him that potent.
Mohammed Shami has one of the best seam positions in world cricket.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar can move the ball both ways and they all do it at a very good pace, which is close to 140 plus all the time. That makes each one of them extremely potent and also the fact that we have Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja in the Test matches who are amongst the top 5 spinners in the world. They are backed up by Kuldeep Yadav who’s an upcoming and talented bowler. So, this augurs very well for the Indian team.
Sir, Bhuvi recently mentioned about your contribution to the bowling setup and how it’s invaluable. Tell us more about it.
My job is to give feedback to the players, most often what they are actually doing compared to what they think they are doing; they are two different things. So, my job is to bridge that gap and the way you do it is by empowering them, make them more aware of what they are doing. Their arm positions, their body positions, release and things like that for which I effectively use videos to give them the feedback and once they understand those positions well, it’s very easy for them to get back to their basics.
You are one of the unsung heroes of the coaching unit. We only here the prominent whistles during the training sessions, but very little is known about you as a person. What do you have to say about it?
I guess you hear the whistles, which I blow during the nets session, but my job being one of the members of the support staff is related to doing the backdoor work. I will only strive harder to give the bowlers better feedback. If there is one thing that I believe in, it is empowering the players. They have the skill, they have the fitness and once they understand themselves more, it gives them the best chance to go out there and succeed.
Coming back to India’s bowling, if you were to pick up a few recent spells that impressed you the most, what would they be?
On the basis of recent spells, I would say that the Test match in Kandy against Sri Lanka when the fast bowlers bowled on a placid wicket, they looked really quick.
Especially, Shami and Umesh Yadav. They were brilliant and in fact, the Sri Lankan team said that for a minute they thought they were playing in England. Shami was clocking 145 plus throughout and that is probably one of the best spells that I have seen him bowl.
Also, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s spell against Australia in the ODI here in Kolkata. These would probably be my pick of the spells.
You have made clear the rotation policy will continue as it is keeping in mind the number of matches India has been playing through the year. Will it continue for a while now?
Yes, it should continue as it has worked very well for us as it keeps the bowlers fresh. It’s not easy to play all forms of the game and remain fresh throughout. It gives specialist bowlers a chance to perform in each format and this way, we also have a great pool of bowlers to choose from and they could fill in for the gap anytime we want them to.
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India were let down by their batting... and that was a matter of lack of sufficient time to acclimatize...
But their bowling has been AWESOME. As commentators on TV mentioned in terms of average pace India have matched South Africa... the difference has been the bounce, which South African bowlers being taller on average have been able to extract more of.
When South Africa visited India not only were the South African batsmen found out.. but their spin bowling was also quite a bit behind the duo of Jadeja and Ashwin.
India picked 5 quicks... and NO spinner... for the final Test at the New Wanderers..don't think that has ever happened in their Test history...
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:27:16:09:11 by Birbal.
About the title question, I think answer is yes. All bowlers bowling in vicinity of 135 kph with good line and length - that is something India never had.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:28:18:53:25 by Akbar.
Probably the first time...
24 needed with a bunny coming in at 11? No problem!
What a difference in quality of pace attack though... then it was Kapil Dev, Roger Binny, Chetan Sharma, Madan Lal, and Mohinder Amarnath...
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 2018:01:29:18:03:45 by Birbal.
I thought that Pujara could be the next Dravid and Dhawan the next Sehwag... KL Rahul and Rahane could be cover for VVS and Ganguly...
But on evidence so far... NOPE.
But this is not just an India problem... Even England's middle order looks unable to put up big scores...
I think it is related to T20... the shortest format with its overemphasis on artificial thrills of big hitting has messed up batsmen's heads... they can't guts out innings...which is very important in Test cricket..
Virat with his 50/50/50 average in Tests/ODIs/T20Is...is an absolute phenom... and head and shoulders above anyone today. But he can't do it alone...