When it comes to winning and dominating other sides, Indian cricket team has always relied on their strong batting. Bowling has always been a slightly weaker link. Batting is a strong suit for us Indians. Maybe it’s because of the wickets that we are brought up on. The low and slow nature of the wickets paves way for a dominant bottom hand. We are good drivers of the ball and the wrist work is immaculate.
Our bowling department has always relied more on the spinners. In India, we often get away with it because of the nature of the tracks but our bowling is put to litmus test when we tour out of the Subcontinent. Fast bowling has been the weakest link throughout the Indian cricket history. We have only produced a handful of good pace bowlers. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Kapil Dev was the only Indian seamer who was able to maintain his mantle for almost two decades. In the recent years, India had Zaheer Khan, who after spending time in English County session had a great run with the Indian cricket team for a few years. He played a clinical role in India winning the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup.
There were a momentary blitz or should I say short periods when certain bowlers looked good. Irfan Pathan was one of them when he was on his peak it looked that India had finally found a great bowler one who could take 100s of wickets and spearhead our bowling attack for years to come but that didn’t turn out as expected. Ishant Sharma’s spell in Perth in 2008 against Australia gave us the hope that our search for a genuine fast bowler was over. But he hasn’t been able to turn his potential into performances. He has been in and out of the team.
But the past few months have brought new hopes for Indian bowling. Right from the India-Newzealand test series last year, Indian bowling has been consistently proving that they are a force to reckon with. The test match against New Zealand on Kolkata surface which was more conducive to swing and seam bowling saw Indian bowlers outperform the Kiwi attack who are expected to be better at swing and seam then their Indian counterparts. Team India continued the form throughout the one day series against the Kiwis. They went onto dominate the visiting Brits. India not only did overshadow the meager English spin attack but even the Indian fast bowlers very more impressive than theirs. Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma all looked great.
The test match at Dharamshala against the touring Aussies is one to be remembered. With the series tied at 1-1, on a track which was expected to be more friendly to Australia owing to the bouncy nature, Indian seamers; Bhuvneshwar and Umesh Yadav produced a spell which made every Indian proud. The ‘chin music’ sounded so much sweeter than it had ever sounded before.
Over the past few months, these performances are becoming more and more regular. India, in Bhubaneswar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah, has found arguably the most reliable death bowling combination. They have great changeups and they are able to nail the yorkers wonderfully well. When it comes to finding the blockhole, I don’t think there is anyone better at it then Bumrah. Bhuvi has this wonderful ability to swing the ball early on when he can make the ball talk both ways and he is being able to pick up wickets at the start of the innings which has been really helpful in setting up the games nicely. Umesh Yadav has been particularly impressive in the test format. He is starting to find consistency with his lines and lengths which is making him a bowler hard to handle since he has always had pace. Mohammed Shami has been troubled with injuries and niggles but he has been impressive from the day one. If he can maintain his fitness then I think he has the potential to be the spearhead of the Indian bowling attack. Indian bench strength in fast bowling has improved as the likes of Ishant Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Dhawal Kulkarni are just warming the benches. India has also found a good all rounder in Hardik Pandya. He is impressing everybody with both bat and ball. He has the ability to hit the good length and can make the ball do a little of the pitch as well.
India has hardly ever struggled with spin bowling options. Ashwin and Jadeja have been the two main pillars. They’ve been first choice options for spin bowling for a while now but our attach has been flooded with spin bowling talent all of a sudden. India has found two amazing talents in Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav. Their wrist spinners helped India dominate the Aussies in the recently concluded ODI series.
Indian bowling department is going really strong. These are really wonderful signs for the future of Indian cricket since the bowlers are playing much bigger roles in Indian victories then they have ever before.