From Newlands 2018 to Lord’s 2021, Indian pacers continue to roar | Cricket News
As India get ready to head to Leeds for the third Test match at Headingley, a venue where they've won on the last two successive occasions they played, here are a few numbers following the pacers:
Between Bumrah (22 Tests), Ishant (24) and Shami (26), they have a combined tally of 276 wickets between January 2018 and now, and that throws up a cumulative average of around 22.5 - a remarkable figure apropos of any comparisons.
But since comparisons are bound to happen, let's take into account the fact that only Tim Southee (21 Tests) and Pat Cummins (25) have more wickets - individually - than the Indian trio among bowlers who've played a maximum of 26 Test matches in the last 42 months.
James Anderson and Stuart Broad, by virtue of having played 31 and 36 Test matches respectively, have 104 and 126 wickets to their credit.
Among these men, only Ishant, Southee, Anderson and Broad made their debuts pre-2010 while only Ishant, Anderson and Broad have played more than 100 Test matches (though Ishant has played way less than Anderson and Broad).
While these statistics are not an indicator of what Anderson has gone on to achieve in a massively glorious career spanning over 18 long years, it's certainly an indicator of how far India's pace bowling has arrived over the last four years.
From the "smelling of blood" on Day Four at the Newlands, when Bumrah had de Villiers, du Plessis and de Kock on the mat, post lunch, to getting rid of Burns, Sibley and Root on Monday to set-up a great opportunity, the bowler's coming of age has truly been most sensational among the ranks.
How astonishing is it to note that the 27-year-old Bumrah, the back-breaker of some tall top and middle orders, is yet to play a First-Class game in India. The ball that got Joe Root out on Day Five at Lord's, the one that landed just in line outside the off-stump, drawing Root to tap it, and got the edge, wasn't meant to have come off a bowler who hasn't spent years practicing that art in First Class cricket.
But it did.
In that moment, he showed India the possibilities that were in store for the rest of the evening. He gave Ishant, Shami (and now Siraj) - his partners in pace - the opportunity to press harder. And they did.
Bharat Arun calls these boys his "racehorses", "stallions" who've stepped up every time it has mattered. "They've bowled their hearts out each time they've been handed the ball," the coach said before the start of the series.
Arun is emotional of course because technically, this could be his last Test series as India's bowling coach, given that his contract will be ending post the World Cup. But here's the thing - he's been to India's pace bowling perhaps a lot more than what Troy Cooley had been to the English quartet of Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones, Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard when the 2005 Ashes were won.
Cooley went on to be poached by the Australians, to head their bowling unit at Brisbane's Centre of Excellence. We will have to wait and see how the BCCI might want to employ Arun next.
Back to this quartet for now. As the series moves to Leeds, where the weather's likely to be nippier than London, there'll be much help from the conditions, or it seems so for now.
In that case, the onus will have to be on India's top and middle-order to justify and be on par with the contributions of their pacemen.
Coming into this series, and with not many warm-up matches under their belt, the one thing Arun had at the top of his mind was to work with the bowlers on getting their line right in these conditions and to work on their pace in order for it to stay most effective alongside the swing.
"We will make most of the time we have to get that bit correct. The landing of the ball will mean everything. In countries like England, that comes with the amount of time you get to spend here. If you get it right, it's a bowler's delight," he had said.
India's pace unit clearly seems to have made the most of the time that was available.
August 17, 2021, 3:24 pm