Bharat Arun explains how India caught Australian batsmen off guard

The Indian team management had started preparing for the Australia tour from July, last year. Bowling coach Bharat Arun is happy that their hard work paid off.

In the fourth Test in Brisbane, Siraj led a young Indian bowling attack, picking up his maiden five-wicket haul in the longest format of the game.   -  Getty Images

The Indian team management had started preparing for the Australia tour from July last year. As the country was slowly returning to normalcy after the lockdown, India’s coaching staff - under the leadership of head coach Ravi Shastri - had come up with a plan to tackle Tim Paine’s men during the long series.

The idea was to bowl in the straight line and make the Australian batsmen struggle on the leg side. And months later, as India yet again defeated Australia 2-1 in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun was happy that their planning and hard work paid off.

READ: R. Sridhar explains how India scripted history in Australia

“Ravi Shastri called me sometime in July and said we need to take the offside out of the Australians. We had our own analysis and we felt that most of the runs that Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne scored were because of cut, pull and on the offside. We took cue from the New Zealand attack. When they bowled to Smith, they just attacked his body and he felt very uncomfortable,” Arun said during a media interaction on Friday.

“Ravi called and said ‘I want you to make a plan where we can eliminate their offside’. We thought about it and decided that we will attack more on the straighter lines and have an on side field. It becomes very difficult for the batsman to consistently clear the on side field. That worked for us. The thought process started sometime in July and then when we discussed it with Virat, he bought the theory. We used the same thing in Adelaide and then Ajinkya was magnificent from Melbourne. The bowlers adjusted to that beautifully,” Arun said.

India's fielding coach R. Sridhar, head coach Ravi Shastri, skipper Virat Kohli, batting coach Vikram Rathore and bowling coach Bharat Arun during a training session.   -  FILE PHOTO/ AKHILESH KUMAR


Arun has been with the Indian team since 2014 - he was out of the side for a while and was brought back again in 2017 - and his partnership with head coach Shastri has helped the team.

“As a head coach, Ravi has been outstanding. He gives you the freedom to work and anyone in the support staff would tell you that he gives you a lot of freedom and you can express yourself. You have common goals for the team, but it is about how can I contribute to this goal. We have our arguments, showdowns. We totally disagree on things but at the end of the day, when we decide on something, we stick to it. We consult the captain and everyone and then come up with the strategy,” Arun said.

READ: 'Umpires offered us to leave the Sydney Test midway'

“It helps when you know someone for that long. It gets a lot easier to agree and also to disagree, which is important in any relation," the bowling coach said.

The India team faced many injury challenges during the Test series and Arun lauded Shastri for having the foresight to retain a few of the limited-overs specialists for the Test series.

“The Australian tour itself is a big challenge. Any past cricketer who has toured Australia would know that. It's probably one of the most challenging tours. I think in the COVID times, it was a good move by Ravi Shastri to hold back all the net bowlers as well. After the ODI series, most of them were supposed to go back, but somehow, we thought that in case anything happens to a player, it will be impossible for anyone to come because of restrictions. We said we will manage with everyone and since they were with us for long, it was possible for them to understand what was demanded of them to be successful in Australia.”

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