JOHANNESBURG: Be it Tests or ODIs, ever since the Indian team landed here in South Africa for what was expected to be a ‘trial by fire’ tour, their bowlers have turned out to be the biggest reason to cheer so far, other than Virat Kohli‘s batting.
India began with their share of surprises when they decided to hand Jasprit Bumrah his Test cap in the first Test at Newlands. It was the 24-year-old’s spell in South Africa’s second innings that set up the game for India batting last, a chase that they never looked in the running for.
At the Wanderers again, it was Bumrah’s exceptional pace and line – alongside Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s impressive spells – that helped India edge out the hosts in their own backyard, especially on a wicket where South Africa were expected to rule.
And now, in the One-dayers, as India lead 3-0, their wrist-spinners – Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav – have been the focus of the series, destroying South Africa’s batting with disproportionate hauls.
“Cannot ask for anything better, they have done a tremendous job. Must say I am more than pleased,” India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun said on the eve of the fourth ODI, one that will wrap up the series in India’s favour if they win.
Having served at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) for a number of years, Arun has worked with most of these bowlers for years now. Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Shami, Yadav and Ishant, for instance, have trained under the bowling coach for quite a while before working together in the Indian team.
Riding on that experience, Arun knew that if India were to use a horses-for-courses policy playing overseas, a bowler like Bumrah would certainly go on to be a surprise package.
“We had made a conscious decision that we will play Bumrah (in SA). So, we deliberately kept him out of the Test matches against Sri Lanka. He was at the NCA working on his fitness and strength, because we knew the workload in South Africa was going to be pretty high. We prepared him accordingly and I think he was the pick of the bowlers,” Arun said. Source : timesofindia