Mumbai, Nov 13: India's dominant performance in the preliminary league of the ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2023 is largely due to its bowling unit which has put the opposition under pressure in every match.
Of course, the top batters comprising Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have been brilliant on their days, It is the bowlers that have helped India finish the league phase unbeaten, with nine wins in nine matches. This is the first time India has managed this in the World Cups.
Among the Indian bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah (17 wickets at an average of 15.64), Mohammed Siraj (12 wickets at 28.83), Mohammed Shami (16 wickets at 9.56), Ravindra Jadeja (16 wickets at 18.25), and Kuldeep Yadav (14 wickets at 22.28) have all excelled across conditions.
India's bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said the bowling unit is a complete package and capable of excelling on any surface.
"In terms of the different skills, we have the ability to [take on] whatever challenge that is ahead of us," Mhambrey was quoted as saying by the ICC in a report on its official website.
"Maybe different surfaces, we have the bowlers to do that. And we’ve done it. We’re the only team who played in nine different venues. So for us, it's nine different surfaces, nine different challenges," Mhambrey told the ICC.
"So we have the right bowlers to exploit these conditions, and they’ve shown that. All of them on a given day can win a game for their country," he said.
Mhambrey said this was a complete setup even though " Every bowler is unique for me. Just happy the way things are."
Mhambrey then discussed the unique skillset each bowler brings to the team.
Talking of Jasprit Bumrah, Mhambrey praised the Gujarat pacer's special action and the new deliveries in his repertoire.
"Boom (Bumrah) is a very different action. Just look at the way he’s come back to the game [from his injury]. The set of skills, the unique action. He completely beats you. Now he’s got both, he gets the ball in and gets the ball out. He’s become lethal."
Mhambrey talked about how Shami's exceptional seam position stood out in the World Cup.
"Shami is someone who has the seam [which hits] straight upright. You never know when Shami hits that seam, which way it's going to come. Is it going to come in?
"And he raises those questions again. You know, the batsman is always guessing. And the ability to hit that seam is spot on. I’ve never seen, very few, I think Sreesanth was one of the bowlers at the international level, that I’d seen with the accuracy and ability to hit that seam. Shami is that. So that kind of confusion, plus the pace," said Mhambrey.
Mhambrey was impressed with the inculcation of new skills into Siraj's bowling armoury.
"Siraj has really kind of grown last couple of years. He’s understood his bowling, obviously coming through the ranks. He’s started using a different set of skills, the wobble seam.
"Initially, he had the ball coming into the batsman, right-handers but now he shapes the ball away. He has the ability and smartness to use the wobble seam and that also worked," Mhambrey analysed.
Mhambrey was also all praise for the three spinners in the Indian playing XI.
Discussing Jadeja, he emphasised the bowler's pinpoint accuracy which had benefitted him over the years.
"He’s not only been doing this right now, he’s been really unsung, he’s gone under the carpet, under the radar. The number of contributions he’s made to the Indian team, for the last many years.
"His ability is very simple. Ability to hit the deck, and hit the lengths spot on. Very accurate. Very miserly in terms of the way he goes about his bowling. Doesn’t give anything away to the batsman. Keeps it very simple and that’s the best part about Jaddu [Jadeja]. He knows his role, he knows what the team expects out of him. Just keeps it very simple, just keeps it out there. Just tightens up. You want someone to tighten up things, squeeze the runs. Jaddu is there," said the former India and Mumbai pacer.
Kuldeep is another bowler in the Indian squad who has made a solid comeback.
"Love how Kuldeep has gone about over the last couple of years. He’s done a little bit of technical adjustment to his runup, which has really helped him to add those revs. His spin has gone up, speed has gone up. And someone like a Chinaman bowler, who does that doesn’t allow you to step out so easily. So Kuldeep has really progressed in the last couple of years," said the India team's bowling coach.
Though Ravichandran Ashwin featured in only one game for India so far, claiming 1/34 in Chennai, Mhambrey said the off-spinner has been a source of inspiration for the other bowlers.
"And Ash [Ashwin] is out and out a match-winner. I’ve said it earlier as well, one of the greatest match-winners this country has produced. Love the way he moves about, no airs about playing the game or not playing the game. Even when he’s sitting in the dugout when you have those chats with him. He’s always there to guide these guys and comes up with a lot of suggestions," said Mhambrey. (IANS)