Saturday, March 2, 2024

Embarrassment of riches bodes well for India ahead of Eng Tests


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NEW DELHI: India’s embarrassment of riches of fast bowling resources will ensure that the team management will be able to rotate pacers with plenty of Test matches against England over the next eight months, said India bowling coach Bharat Arun.

“It is a healthy trend, embarrassment of riches. You cannot take away credit with what these bowlers have done. Ishant [Sharma], [Mohammed] Shami, or Umesh [Yadav] have been magnificent for India and they still have a lot of cricket in them. As I said earlier, for us to rotate bowlers and make sure each one of them is absolutely fit and raring to go, to be able to bowl 140 kmph is important,” said Arun while speaking to the media on Friday.

India play four Tests against England at home in February-March and then fly to England in August-September to play five Tests. In between, they could also play the World Test Championship final.

While India’s front-line attack comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Shami, Ishant, and Umesh Yadav has been a handful, the quartet’s absence in the last Test of the Australia tour at Brisbane due to injuries threw up India’s second string which performed admirably. Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, T. Natarajan and Navdeep Saini (who though got injured during the Test) did well to help India return with a remarkable win in the fourth Test at the Gabba.

“I think this (Australia) tour has taken a lot out of the guys because of the spate of injuries that have happened. But in future, when you have seven fast bowlers, willing to play for the country especially the number of Test matches they have got, four against England now and five in England — that’s a lot of Test matches,” added Arun.

Arun said that building bowling resources has been going on for quite some time and is not a new development. He said that the team has been building up resources for the past three years.

“It has not been done right now. We had been planning this for three years. We said we need excellent bench strength because if you need India to be doing well consistently at the international level, you need a pool of bowlers who would be rotated time and gain so that they stay fresh and at any given time, you will be fielding a fresh set of bowlers who are raring to go and are very good at international scene,” said the bowling coach.

“So now we are blessed with the great bench strength. So it is very heartening to know that these guys have come to the party, given the opportunity, gone on and done excellent job. This tour will give them necessary confidence to do well.”

The 58-year-old former India pacer harped on consistency, saying that consistency is the key at the top level because in Test cricket the margin for error is very low.

“Anyone who is selected to play for the country is ready and good enough but the challenge would be at the highest level. Consistency is the key. I think all these boys like (Navdeep) Saini or Shardul Thakur or Mohammed Siraj have been in and out of the Indian team in the last 2-3 years and they perfectly understand what it demands to be successful here,” said Arun.

“Also the fact, when you analyse why has the Indian bowling been so successful and if you look at the track record of what Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami or Umesh Yadav have done, the bottomline would be consistency, they have been absolutely consistent, executing their skill with lot of intent and with consistency. That is going to be key to success.”


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