Two days on, the euphoria of India’s famous Test series win in Australia is yet to die down. Bowling coach Bharat Arun, who was at the center of it all, spoke extensively on the planning that went into the series and how they coped with injuries to key personnel.
Match after the match you kept losing bowlers. You pretty much had a greenhorn attack. What did you tell them and how did you get them so equipped in only their second or third match they were playing?
Australia is one of the most challenging tours, especially during these COVID times. It was a great move by Ravi Shastri also to hold back all the bowlers who had come as net bowlers. After the one-day series, most of them were supposed to go back. But then we thought if something happens to a player, then it would not be possible for anyone to come because of the restrictions. So we said, we’ll manage with everyone here. Because they were with us for a long period of time, it was possible for them to understand what it demands to be successful in Australia and work on those very lines. Them being with us did help a great deal.
How do you insert belief in bowlers like Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini that they could pick 20 wickets even without Jasprit Bumrah?
All that we were talking about was the need to be consistent. They all have the ability to bowl well. They all have wickets under the belt. Test cricket is no different. The only thing is a margin of error in Test cricket is very, very small and that is the thing which they need to eliminate. Every time they were in the nets, they had to decide lines they’re going to bowl and had to discuss with me.
My job was to give them the right feedback and assess with them how far they are satisfied with what have done that particular day. Every net session, if you are looking to improve on what you want to execute the match just becomes an extension of the net (session). Of course, the pressures are different (in Test cricket), but the players have reacted under pressure, and they have looked upon the challenge as an opportunity to excel. That is what makes champions. That is what these players have done and that has contributed in us having done exceptionally well in Australia.
Do you think the Brisbane Test an indicator that as and when whenever Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami are not available the transition phase will be smooth with new bowlers coming in like Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, and Shardul Thakur?
It is not done right now. We have been planning this over the last three years. We said we need an excellent bench strength because if you need India to sustain doing well at the international level, you need a pool of bowlers who would be rotated time and again so that time and again they stay fresh. And at any point in time, you will be fielding a fresh set of bowlers who will be raring to go, who are very good at the international scene. So, now, we are blessed with great bench strength. It’s very heartening to know when they were given the opportunity, they have come to the party and gone on and done great things for the country. This tour would give them the necessary confidence to do well for the country at any given point in time.
We have seven fast bowlers willing to play for the country, especially the number of Test matches we are going to play. Four against England now and five against England, that’s a lot of Test matches if we need to give in our best performance. I think it will be extremely handy. More than looking at how we are going to phase them out, I think they have enough cricket, their experience is outstanding and they are still good enough to perform for India. Yes, these boys will also be there. We spoke about the rotation policy, they all will be rotated and make sure we will put out the best team on the park.