Hyderabad: An interesting statistic that is doing rounds is that when did the last time an Australian scored a century against India? The answer is way back on March 25, 2017 when Steve Smith slammed 111 in Dharamsala. In between, India played six Tests, all Down Under and there is no century from the Australian batsmen.
Such is the dominance of Indian bowlers, particularly the pace bowlers, who have strangled the Aussies. In fact, none of the Australian batsmen hit a half century in both the innings in the Melbourne Test. This is something that would hurt Aussies coach Justin Langer, whose biggest worry is the poor starts.
It is a victory of sorts for bowling coach Bharat Arun, who received much of the flak after India’s lowest Test score of 36 all out in Adelaide in the first Test. The fact remains that Indian bowlers had the measure of the top order, but for the tail-end batsmen who proved a big stumbling block in quite a few Tests. Otherwise, Arun has been one of the success stories in India’s rise as a fast bowler’s country.
Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohd Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Navdeep Saini or the latest Mohammed Siraj have taken India to a new high with their fearsome fast bowling that has been feature of Virat Kohli’s many victories in the recent past.
Former national chief selector MSK Prasad said it is the result of the hard work that Arun puts in the training session. “He is fondly referred to as ‘Anna’. He is a player’s coach. He motivates and gives confidence to the bowlers with encouraging words. He is full of energy and reads the game very well. He is technically very sound and most of the bowlers are comfortable with him.”
“He makes it a point to address the fast bowler’s problems by correcting them in his own inimitable style. He observes each bowler very closely and plots the dismissals in matches. He is fully aware how much a pace bowler can take the load and accordingly assigns them in nets. If today, India have pace men who have dominated world cricket then the credit should go to Arun,’’ said Prasad.
Veteran seamer Jyothi Prasad, who was the chairman of the senior selection committee when Arun was in charge of Hyderabad team in 2016-17 season, felt that Arun understands the player’s psychology. “I observed this when he was coach of the Hyderabad team. He would motivate and give the confidence to the bowlers. I think that year, the pace trio of Siraj, Ravi Kiran and CV Milind benefited hugely. They got around 120 wickets that season. In a way, Siraj has to thank his stars that he had Arun as coach in the early years of his first class career,’’ said Prasad.
Left arm seamer Milind felt that Arun was a man of few words but he was best in business. “It is a known fact that we benefited a lot when Arun was Hyderabad coach. He would bring the best from a player. He would interact and he knew how to handle the players differently. For instance, he pushed me and Siraj to bowl with purpose. Siraj was a raw bowler but Arun sir fine-tuned him nicely. He bowled a lot of in-swingers initially and by the end of the season he learnt to bowl out-swingers. I took 35 wickets in Ranji cricket that season. We were fortunate to have a coach like Arun that year,’’ he said.
Prasad concluded by saying that Arun has been one of the vital cogs of India’s successful campaign in recent times. He deserves the praise.
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