The successful Australian tour has been a marker that the Indian team can hold its own even in the absence of its veteran pacers like Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami. The emergence of the likes of Mohammad Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Navdeep Saini offers a cushion for the team management.
“It’s a healthy trend and an embarrassment of riches. You can’t take away the credit from what Ishant, Shami and Umesh have done. They have been magnificent for India and they have a lot of cricket in them. But for us to rotate bowlers and make sure every bowler is absolutely fit to bowl at 140 in every Test, we need options,” India bowling coach Bharat Arun said on Friday.
“Now, when we have seven fast bowlers willing to play for India. We have four Tests against England at home now and five when we travel there later in the year. That’s a lot of Tests to give the best performance. Regarding how we are going to phase them out, I think they have enough cricket. They all will be rotated,” he added.
While the entire Indian cricket fraternity bathes in the euphoria of this new crop of fast bowlers, Arun does leave a disclaimer. There’s a fair bit that these new bowlers need to learn from their seniors. “Consistency is the key at the highest level. All these boys like Saini, Shardul and Siraj have been in and out of the team in the last two-three years. They understand what it is needed to be successful here. If you look at the track record of Ishant, Bumrah, Shami and Umesh, the bottom line is consistency. Executing your skill with a lot of intent. These boys have been with us. They are watching and learning.”
Mohammed Siraj, left, and T Natarajan (AP Photo)
The transition is well and truly on. And it’s something that the team managed to have been working on for some time now. “It has been done over three years. We knew we needed an excellent bench strength. For India to sustain their success at the international level, you need to have a pool of bowlers,” Arun claimed. “We have reiterated that they remain fresh at any given time and are raring to go. Now, we are blessed with this great bench strength. This tour will give them the necessary confidence to do well at any given point of time.”
‘Planned for tour in July’
Arun also revealed that the team management had devised the leg-side trap for the Australians in July. “Ravi called me sometime in July and we were discussing the Australia tour, that we needed to take the off side out of the Australians. So, we had our own analysis and we felt most of the runs Smith and Labuschagne scored and most of Aussie batsmen, they had got a lot of runs out of the cut, pull and on the off side,” the 58-year-old said. “We took a cue out of the NZ attack. When they bowled to Steve Smith, they had bowled bodyline to him and he felt very uncomfortable.”