How Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli transformed Indian fast bowling
Exactly four years ago in 2015, Virat Kohli had taken over from MS Dhoni as the full-time Test captain and India had conceded the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to Australia. The questions around the fast bowling prospects posed to the new captain during the post-match press conference didn't seem to stop. Kohli being the outspoken captain, cited the example of Josh Hazelwood and felt fitness and intensity separated the two fast-bowling groups.
The legendary Anil Kumble and Kohli brought Shankar Basu, the eminent fitness trainer on board. The next task was to identify who would form the core group of fast bowling.
The fast bowlers had put on the hard work regarding fitness and strength training, and they were a yard quicker. Once they went to the West Indies tour in 2016, Indian Test unit looked quite promising.
Let's look into some of the reasons that transformed the Indian Fast bowling unit.
#1 Showing more confidence in the ability
When MS Dhoni was the leader from 2008 to 2014, he somehow preferred to control the game with spinners. The fast bowlers would play a supporting role in home conditions as spinners would do the job for the side.
After the initial burst with the new ball in overseas conditions, MSD would often be forced to set defensive run-saving fields, and the game would meander away from India. This would transfer the pressure on the batsmen who were expected to score big against quality fast-bowling attacks away from home.
However, with Virat Kohli, the same set of bowlers have looked more lethal because the captain has always shown a lot of faith in them. Irrespective of the conditions, Kohli has preferred using his fast bowlers in short bursts and looked for wickets.
When England and Australia toured India in 2016/17, it was not just about the spinners running riot, but the role of the fast bowlers who provided early breakthroughs by consistently bowling at speeds near about 90 mph.
Even when things have not gone their way initially, he has shown confidence, and they have come back and delivered in their next spells. The best examples have been Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami in South Africa and Australia where they razed out the batsmen in a single spell.