A glimpse of the future of Indian bowling
I saw the video of the scuffle between Ishant and Akmal a couple of hours ago and I wondered, when did India get so smart, sledging like a pro and backing it up with some terrific bowling? It was a sight that I would like to remember for a while, for the sheer intensity Ishant demonstrated. Maybe it was the opposition that brought out the best in us. A strange thought occurred to me though, as I sat watching these youngsters in action – Have India found their own Wasim and Waqar? Fast bowlers generally hunt in pairs, and this combination was quite unusual, but I can’t help feeling that India might have finally found its bowling combination for the future.
There is plenty of variety in this Indian bowling line-up to take on any kind of opposition in any kind of conditions. Ishant showed that in Bangalore when he exploited a tame Chinnaswamy pitch, extracting maximum bounce, using his height to full effect. Maybe he was influenced by another tall Pakistani who made his debut in the match. Ishant bowled like a man possessed and was ready to give it back to Kamran Akmal in kind when the batsman got involved verbally. He has been a completely different player since the last Test match against England, bowling his heart out in the Test and his efforts were quite visible in Bangalore. If he had a decent partner at the other end after Bhuvneshwar Kumar‘s initial burst, he could have won the match on his own.
It was an enthralling encounter, with the youngsters willing to fight till the end. Suresh Raina was a “Super King” on the field, showing tremendous athleticism. It was quite impossible to get past him and Virat too, wasn’t far behind. Jadeja’s stupendous catch, although off a no ball, underlined the effect of young legs on a team’s performance. Ravichandran Ashwin‘s variations were missing in the middle and I hope Dhoni has realized his mistake by now. We do not need eight batsmen in a T20. On any given day, even if one batsman clicks, the others are simply extra luggage for the team. Even if the team loses some quick wickets, we need all-rounders rather than specialist batsmen to save the day with the bat and also contribute in bowling. Having extra bowlers is definitely more advantageous than having extra batsmen, to lend that extra sting to the bowling attack.
Pakistan knew what they were doing, filing up their ranks with crafty bowlers. They had five genuine bowlers, backed by the skipper himself who can be lethal on his day. Pakistan’s versatility astounds me, for it is a team that has lacked a genuine match-winner in recent times. But they have never been short of bowlers. They keep coming at us, like bees from an agitated comb. It is hard to understand how they have managed to produce so many good bowlers continuously.
There’s one man missing all this fun though, the affable seamer from Baroda who is down with an injury. Irfan Pathan is a value addition to the team and can lend stability to the batting order by batting at number seven in the absence of an extra specialist batsman. Had he been playing, he could have held up the other end with Bhuvneshwar keeping the batsman in check. He could have been a perfect foil to Kumar, bowling in tandem with the U.P. seamer and could have added to Pakistan’s woes. India was missing him definitely and his inclusion would mean a world of good for the team.
Indian bowling needs to be what it was on the eve of Christmas, fearless and defiant. The bowlers should be assured of their place and the team should have ample replacements on the bench in case of an injury. So that we can rotate the bowlers and have a specific set for each format. Umesh Yadav hasn’t been economical and can be used in the Tests as he offers a lot of pace and bounce.
For India, bowling has always been an issue. I believe that India lost the overseas tours due to bowling incompetencies, but the bowlers seemed to have learnt the lesson and are willing to make amends for the same. It would be fair enough to provide them with another chance to serve India. Without doubt, if the bowling comes good, then India would be a completely different side altogether!