Shami, Umesh, Ishant and their trade secrets
India bowling coach Bharat Arun feels Mohammed Shami has the best seam position in the world; says experiment and hunger is the key behind the success of the pack.
Umesh Yadav unsuccessfully against Bangladesh's Mominul Haque, in Indore on Saturday.
Picking up eighty wickets in four Test matches, Team India pacers have been lethal in the World Test Championship (WTC) home fixtures.
“At present, we are No. 1 team in the world. Getting there is difficult and staying there is even more difficult. You need to be hungry. Ours is an extremely skilled bowling attack and if you can bring in discipline in the skill, that will make them perform better time and again,” bowling coach Bharat Arun said after the innings victory against Bangladesh in the first of the two-match Test series.
The key, however, lies in experiments.
When bowling round the wicket to left-handers, Ishant Sharma usually gets the ball to drift away but on day three morning, he nipped one delivery back in after pitching it outside off; it kissed the middle stump of Shadman Islam.
“Ishant started working on that variation from yesterday. You may have looked at the way he signalled after he got that wicket. He was happy he could do that. Each time you try to explore new avenues in your bowling and you constantly look to improve. This will give him the much needed fillip to experiment.
“He is the most experienced bowler with over 90 Tests. He was always economical and had the control but he felt he needed to make the batsmen play a lot more. He wanted to experiment with different angles and he stuck to that,” said Arun.
Mohammad Shami celebrates the fall of a Bangladesh wicket at the Holkar Stadium in Indore on Saturday. | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy
The Shami secret
With 29 wickets in six Tests in the WTC, Shami is the leader of the Indian pace attack. He has earned the moniker ‘second innings beast’ for his prowess with the old ball.
Decoding Shami and the secret to his success, Arun said, “He always had the speed. It is not fair to compare but if you look at bowlers all around, he probably has the best seam position. He maintained his speed by working on fitness and there is perfect balance between his fitness and the bowling, that’s the secret.”
The Umesh show
Umesh Yadav is not a regular starter for India ever since Jasprit Bumrah arrived in the scene. But the Vidarbha pacer made good use of the opportunity, as Bumrah is injured, to finish with 15 wickets in the three Tests of the WTC he has played so far.
Umesh being in the scheme of things helps the team management balance the workload of the pace pack. “There are four or five fast bowlers [including Bhuvneshwar Kumar] who are ready to play for the country and if we can manage the workload well, we can ensure each one is nice and fresh for every game they play. Umesh showed a lot of character in coming back,” he added.
Ishant Sharma celebrates the dismissal of Shadman Islam. | Photo Credit: AP
On pink ball
The pink ball Test under lights, starting November 22, will be a historic affair for both India and Bangladesh. Understanding the nature of the pink ball, which has a lot of lacquer, and that it will be played in Kolkata amid dew there will be a thin chance of Kuldeep Yadav making it to the XI.
Wrist spinners will have an edge over finger spinners as gripping the pink ball will be tough with the dew factor coming in. The chinaman has been bowling at the nets with the pink ball but Arun refused to comment if he will be preferred. “It is a new experience for us and the spinners and bowlers that we have are No 1 in the world. My job is to give them the right feedback so that they can connect with what they know better. As we go on, we will understand bowling with the pink ball a lot more.”
Overall, the Indian bowlers have picked up 120 wickets (home and away) in the WTC so far.