Indore: He has been one of Virat Kohli’s primary weapons in the second innings of a Test match and statistics show that Mohammed Shami is now the most successful bowler in the second innings of a Test match in the last two years. Shami has taken 51 wickets in 20 innings. Australia’s Pat Cummins has 48 wickets while South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada has 34 wickets.
The pace trio of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav led from the front as the bowlers took 20 wickets in a match that lasted just over two and a half days against Bangladesh in Indore. This was despite India missing Jasprit Bumrah, who has emerged as the team’s strike bowler since his Test debut in early 2018.
Ishant said speaking with each other and sharing their plans was the reason behind their success while Shami said focusing on his length and executing it nicely helped him.
“We always enjoy each other’s success, speak with each other and try and share our plans. It’s difficult to explain his (Shami’s) bowling renaissance, I have played quite a lot, I’m 31 (laughs), the bowling is taking a toll on my body, but I’m enjoying it, trying out different variations,” Ishant said.
Meanwhile, an elated Shami said: “The more we get tired, the better fun we have. We push each other. We try to enjoy each other’s success. I bowl alongside Ishant and Umesh as well. That makes it easier for me. I focus on my length and have been able to execute as well.”
An extremely skilful bunch with each speed merchant bringing in a different facet makes the current Indian pace unit best in the world, feels team’s bowling coach Bharat Arun.
“I think at present we are the no. 1 team in the world. Getting there is difficult, staying there is even more difficult. I think to do that over a period of three years, you need to stay constantly hungry,” Arun said after the match.
India’s most successful bowling coach Arun then spoke about each of the three pacers.
On Ishant coming round the wicket to left-hander (Shadman Islam dismissal), Arun said: “Actually started working on that variation from yesterday. So if you look at the way he signalled after he got the wicket, he was very happy that he could do that.
“Each time you try to explore new avenues in your bowling, you constantly look to improve. And this would give him the much needed fillip to experiment more and try out,” he added.
When asked about Umesh, the bowling coach lavished praise on the “character” that he has shown despite being in and out of the side due to specific team combinations.
“Umesh showed a lot of character in coming back. But then that’s also an embarrassment of riches (with Bumrah on his way to recovery),” the former India bowler said.
“You have five fast bowlers (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) who are ready to play for the country. And over a period of time if you can manage the workloads well, we can ensure that each one is nice and fresh for every game that we play.”
The craftiest among all the Indian fast bowlers is undoubtedly Shami, whose “seam position” according to Arun, is best in the world.
“Shami has always had the speed. It’s not fair to compare but if you look at bowlers all around, Shami’s got probably the best seam position. And one way to maintain the speed is he’s spent a lot of work doing his fitness.
“There is a perfect balance between fitness and the bowling he does. I think that works very well for Shami and that’s the secret behind it.”
When a Bangladeshi scribe asked how the pace revolution started in India, a visibly satisfied Arun replied: “The hunger to do well.”