Bharat Arun reflects on the rise of Indian fast bowling

Arun reserved special praise for Shami, Bumrah and Ishant.

The pacers have been doing really well for India | Getty

India's bowling coach Bharat Arun grins talking about the emergence of the country's current group of fast bowlers having along the way played his own crucial role in their fascinating journey. 

With the likes of Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Bhuvneshwar Kumar coming together and their back-ups available to be groomed, the Indian pace attack has never been this rich in quality; promising dominance at the Test match level of a kind nation's fanfare has never seen before.

Read Also: Ravi Shastri happy to see India's pacers hunt in a pack   

However, this wouldn't have been possible without their own determination and a collective effort of a lot of people in the system, including Arun. 

"When we started to look into it, we realised there were multiple factors that affected fast bowlers," he told TOI. "Over-bowling was one. The monitoring of workload was missing. There was lack of sufficient rest. And under-bowling too was an important factor."

"It all boiled down to individual conditioning. There has to be a lot of dialogue between the coach, the physio and the trainer."

"Only when a bowler begins to tell you how he feels, and shares his thoughts, beliefs and fears completely, will it allow the people around the bowler to manage him efficiently."

Arun believes honesty has played a massive role here. "It's a word that is used often but what is important to consider is the underlying context attached to it," he said. "Ahead of the Sydney Test, Ishant Sharma came up and said he wouldn't be able to play because he was facing some discomfort. The team decided to go in with three fast bowlers and included Kuldeep."

"After the Australian series, Bumrah was supposed to travel to New Zealand. But he came up and said, 'I'm really feeling tired (after the Oz series). I've given everything'. Of course, he had."

"He took his break, went back home, took some rest and stayed fresh for the next series. Much of the credit here goes to Virat (Kohli) and Ravi (Shastri) for making this space available to the players."

The former India Test bowler reserved special praise for Shami as he said: "He is a very strong guy. He inadvertently does fasting every day. Intermittent fasting. It comes naturally to him. When he was going through that troubled period, he was very low. His fitness was low and even failed a fitness Test (last year). He came close to ... (goes silent)." 

"But what that period also did to him is build a lot of anger inside him. It is during that time that Ravi and I sat with him and told him to channelise all that anger into his fast bowling and just keep working on his fitness. All he had to do was work like a bull. That's what he did."

Bumrah, Arun says, "has been the driving force of this fast bowling attack. He came in and took the world by storm. That motivated the others to step up. That was the initial build-up to this attack."

"It all started in South Africa last year. I remember Ravi telling these boys, 'From now on, no bowling up'. In the second innings, they shot off South Africa for 131. That was the beginning of a story that these boys are busy scripting right now," he added. 

Ishant, of course, has bowled like the 96-Test veteran and the leader of this bowling line-up. "He is a different avatar of his own self," Arun said. "If you look at the way he swings the ball, both to the left hander and the right hander and the line when the ball is moving, making it come in and move out - very few bowlers in the world can do it." 

"Ishant is probably one of the few bowlers in the world who can do it. That is also because of the unique position of his wrist. That allows him to do it consistently."

"His height is also an advantage. It allows him to move wider, bowl that line outside the off-stump or get the ball to come in."

(Inputs from TOI)


By Kashish Chadha - 29 Nov, 2019

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