Unsung Hero : Bharat Arun
Updated: Apr 13, 2019
India's pacemen went toe-to-toe with South Africa, were very good in England and have dominated their opposition bowlers in Australia. The brains behind the excellent cricket from India as ex-Indian test bowler Bharat Arun.
If you blinked you would have missed his career. Arun only took 4 wickets from the 2 test matches he played. However it's now in coaching that he is making his mark.
Eighteen months ago, Arun was appointed on the advise of Ravi Shastri. Shastri has been criticized for his selections throughout 2018, however his appointment of Arun appears to have been a master stroke from the Indian coach.
A great point in case has been Arun's work with Ishant Sharma. A tall player with good pace and bounce, Sharma had spent a lot of his 10 year test career averaging in the mid to high 30s, and in and out of the Indian team.
Under Arun's watch Sharma has had an excellent 2018, his best year to date. With an average of 21.85 with the ball in 2018, it's been a big improvement on his next best year, where he averaged 28.72 in 2016.
Sharma spent a lot of his career bowling across the left handers. with his natural angle, if he pitched on the stumps they could let him go through to the keeper. If he adjusted, they worked him off the hip. He was ineffective.
But now under Arun that has changed, and to be frank, the change should have happened years ago. Ishant is now almost purely an around the wicket bowler to the left handers. He bowled beautifully in the first test against England at Birmingham, angling the ball in and then taking it away. His 5 for 51 should have won India the test. He has contributed throughout this series to India's series lead going into Sydney.
Under Arun, Jasprit Bumrah has just about been the bowler of 2018. With an awkward and technically imperfect action, his pace and accuracy has been outstanding throughout the year.
Mohammed Shami has improved and too contributed this series, highlighted by an excellent 6/56 in Perth.
Shane Warne revealed on today's telecast that these three Indian fast bowers have taken the most wickets by a threesome in a calendar year, taking over Holding, Marshall and Garner in 1984. What a threesome to be compared with! It is a record in test cricket since it was first played in 1877.
The other thing Arun has got his pacers bowling with the seam coming out beautifully. Where as the bowlers deserve credit primarily for this, as they are the ones carrying out the skills, if you compare to the wobbly seams of the Australian bowlers, who are quality with room for improvement, there needs to be credit to the coaching staff to have the bowling unit bowling so well.
To have all 5 of India's bowers, Bumrah, Shami, Sharma, Ashwin and Jadeja averaging under 30 in the series has been brilliant to date for India.
Credit must go to Bharat Arun