Bhuvaneswar Kumar
India's Mohammed Shami (L), Ishant Sharma (C) and Bhuvaneswar Kumar. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Is India’s present pace unit their all-time best? A statistical study reveals that the combined Test bowling average of 15.16 (runs per wicket) this year was the best for any team in a calendar year in 67 years.

The combination of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah have taken 95 wickets in just eight Tests this year. It is undoubtedly a remarkable show especially for India, who historically had relied on their spinners to get wickets. The spin quartet of Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Bishan Singh Bedi, Erapalli Prasanna and Srinivas Venkataraghavan were hailed as the world’s best. If India stunned some of the top cricket teams in the 70s and 80’s, it was purely due to these spinners.

Individually, the present bowlers may not stand out except for Bumrah, who is now respected by every batsmen around the world but collectively, they are extremely effective. This, however, does not mean that Indian pace attack that won the 1983 World Cup was not effective. Led by Kapil Dev, the man who showed that India can create fear among batsmen with pace and movement, he had Madanlal and Roger Binny, who had accuracy and knew how to bowl within their limitations.

Kapil has recently admitted that the present pace quartet is the best in the world today and attributed Indian Premier League (IPL) as the reason to have unearthed such talent. In a recent interview to Gulf News, Zaheer Khan — arguably the best left-arm fast bowler for India — said that IPL had played a big role where young pacers got to rub shoulders with experienced players and learn.

The ultimate seal of approval for India’s present pace attack came from none other than batting legend Brian Lara when he said that the Indian pace attack reminded him of West Indies fast bowlers of the 80’s and early 90’s. In pace, they may not still be as deadly like those West Indies pacers, but as coach Ravi Shastri revealed, when the present quartet hunt in a pack, they can be real match-winners.