Virat Kohli’s troops made the whole country proud during their recently concluded 58-day long tour of South Africa. They became the first Indian side to register a bilateral ODI series victory on South African soil. While the Men in Blue clinched the six-match ODI series with a stunning margin of 5-1, they won the three-match T20I series 2-1.
Even though India lost the Test series 1-2 to the Proteas, their pace battery have impressed one all with their awe-inspiring showing. Owing to the combination of lively pace and top-class swing bowling, Indian fast bowlers have managed to scalp majority of the 60 South African wickets that had fallen in three Tests.
As India are gearing up for their next T20I triangular tri-series assignment in Sri Lanka, team’s bowling coach Bharat Arun has said that he is thoroughly focussed on his next goal i.e. preparing the talented back-up pacers for 2019 World Cup in England.
"Yes, the Sri Lanka T20 Tri-series will give us ample opportunity to test the bench strength of our pace bowling unit. We have two world class operators in Bhuvi and Bumrah but we have also created a good pool. The pacers (Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat) who are going to Sri Lanka will be looking forward to grabbing the opportunity," Arun told PTI.
"Since we have a long season ahead, we have to be ready for any injury or fitness issues. Shardul Thakur has come up nicely and done well in South Africa also. Even Shami and Umesh are very much in contention as they will be playing the Deodhar Trophy (for India A and B respectively)," he further added.
As junior cricketers, most of the current crop of Indian pacers have had their stint at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore and Arun being a former coach at NCA had observed them from close quarters.
When asked to comment on young left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat whether he should be drafted to the ODI team after his impressive show in T20 format, Arun said: "Since I am not a selector, I wouldn't comment whether he should be in the ODI scheme of things but as a coach, my job is to believe that each and every bowler at this level possess the quality and temperament to be successful.
"Adaptability is the key and it differs from player to player. If Jaydev can adapt well, then there is no reason why he can't play ODIs for India," he explained.
Bharat is also ecstatic with the fact that every Indian pacer brings something different to the table.
"Bhuvi is now bowling close to 140 kmph and can swing the ball both ways. Shami has this ability to produce a devastating spell out of nowhere and Ishant with his height can create disconcerting bounce. Also Ishant is a workhorse," Arun remarked.
After covering the India-South Africa Test series as a commentator, West Indian pace legend Michael Holding had said that Bumrah is unlikely to get success in England since he hits the deck hard.
Differing with Holding's opinion, Arun said: "I don't think that it is fair to judge any bowler without even checking him out in particular conditions. There are areas where we can work but how can one conclude that Bumrah can't be successful in England, when he has not even played a Test there.
"Cricket is also like boxing. If you are going to not get into ring due to fear of getting hurt, then you will never be able to hit. This team doesn't fear losing, they only think about winning," he concluded.