Bharat Arun not just hones skills but understands the mind of the bowlers and gets them to combine as a potent force.
The Indian bowling coach, after the clean sweep against South Africa in Tests, shared his thoughts with The Hindu.
How did this remarkable change in the Indian team’s thought process and approach, when they took the pitch out of the equation, come about?
In Australia in 2015 we had a team meeting and decided we would no longer complain about the pitch that was the same for both sides. Instead, we would adapt and play as if we were at home. It was a mental switch that made the technical adjustments, such as finding the right length, easier. That was the beginning of this exciting journey.
Indeed, the pitch for the second Test against South Africa in Pune actually favoured the pacemen.
We not only have quality pace bowlers but quality fast bowlers with different skill sets. And unlike in the past where we had one or two exceptional bowlers, we now have a bunch of pacemen who can bowl at over 140 kmph,
R. Ashwin’s bowling, in his comeback series, was a big plus for India.
He’s among the best spinners in the world, top class, and is approaching 400 Test wickets. In fact Ashwin went to England and Australia as our No. 1 spinner and then ran into fitness issues. Ravindra Jadeja grabbed his chance, giving us control with the ball, solidity with the bat and fielding brilliantly. Away from home, if we have to pick one of the two in the eleven, it will be horses for courses looking at the conditions and the opposition. Then we have Kuldeep Yadav who picked five with his wrist spin in his last Test, in Sydney. We have an embarrassment of riches.
How happy are you with Umesh Yadav’s performance?
He’s strong and quick and now he is bowling in better channels, making the batsman play around the off-stump. He’s got reverse swing, has a nasty short ball. He and Shami, who is fast, accurate and dangerous, are a potent combination.
What is the biggest change in the way you look after the pacemen?
Our workload management. The cricketers wear GPS equipment inside their vest and we have a clear idea about their workload.
Still someone as valuable as Jasprit Bumrah gets injured. Will he need surgery for his back?
Fast bowling is an unnatural activity. Despite our best efforts there can be no guarantees. We expect Bumrah to be back sooner than later, hopefully in time for the New Zealand Test series that is our next big challenge. As of now, he doesn’t need surgery.
Indian fielding has supported the bowling, particularly the close catching.
Fielding coach R. Sridhar has done a fantastic job, his drills are intense, interesting and challenge the players. This reflects on the field.
Your thoughts of Sourav Ganguly becoming the BCCI president?
Sourav captained India with success and now he is leading the BCCI. It augurs well for Indian cricket.