PARTAB RAMCHAND | 15 JANUARY, 2019
For the first time then in living memory bowling has become India’s main strength
If rain had not washed out the last stages of the fourth Test at Sydney India in all likelihood would have taken all 80 wickets on offer and that would have been a phenomenal achievement. As it turned out even 70 wickets is no mean feat and it confirms the view expressed by both Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli that after a long time India has an attack capable of taking 20 wickets in a match every time. In fact quite rightly Kohli made a special mention of the bowlers saying they were the main force behind the historic triumph.
For the first time then in living memory bowling has become India’s main strength and there is every reason to believe this for the bowlers put up a tremendous show in both South Africa and England doing their best in covering up for batting failures. Batting has traditionally been India’s strength through the years culminating in the great deeds of the most lustrous batting line up in the contemporary game consisting of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman bolstered along the way by the likes of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
These days while the batting continues to be strong it is the bowling that is making the all important difference. More than the batsmen it is the bowlers who are now the subject of much focus and analysis and it is the bowlers who are receiving most of the man of the match awards. They are making upward strides in the ICC rankings and indeed the metamorphosis is quite amazing. .
What is most striking about the Indian bowling is the variety that is available. he pace bowlers are all different in their approach with the ideal blend of pace, swing and hostility while displaying the age old qualities that go with good fast bowling – line and length, judicious use of the bouncer and the yorker and subtle changes in pace and direction. In the spin bowling department there are leg spinners, off spinners, orthodox left arm spinners and chinaman bowlers – all with proven skills. And in either category, pace or spin, there are a number of bowlers around who have the credentials to step in anytime if the established bowlers are injured or in need of a rest.
Yes, the bench strength of the Indian team presents an embarrassment of riches for the selectors and one look at the change in composition of the Test squad and the ODI squad underlines this. And while there is little doubt that this is the best pace attack in the history of Indian cricket one would also like to believe that it is also perhaps the most balanced bowling line up