India going to Aus with best bowling attack in years.
India’s assistant coach Sanjay Bangar thinks the current line-up of fast bowlers picked to tour Australia is the best the team has had “for a number of years”. Speaking on the eve of the fifth and final ODI of the five-match series against Sri Lanka at Ranchi, Bangar said he was pleased with the rotation policy adopted to preserve the pace bowlers ahead of a long tour of Australia, where they play four Tests, a tri-series also involving England and the 2015 World Cup.
“As you have seen, there is a lot of rotation happening [with the fast bowlers],” Bangar said. “Bowlers like Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] and [Mohammed] Shami have got rest. A rotation policy is being followed and that is with the intention that we have an all-fit pace attack in Australia.”
During the previous ODI at the Eden Gardens, stand-in captain Virat Kohli had gushed over the possibility of fielding a pace attack all capable of bowling over the 140kph mark, and with Kohli already named as captain for the first Test at Brisbane, it could well be a possibility. Bangar showed similar excitement.
“The preparations are spot on, their workload is being monitored properly and I think we probably have the best seam bowling attack going to Australia for a number of years,” he said.
India have had impressive preparation ahead of their four-month long tour, and Bangar said despite dominating the series against a listless-looking Sri Lankan team, there were a lot of positives that have emerged, one of which has been the revival of Umesh Yadav, India’s standout performer with the ball.
“Umesh has been a big plus, and has improved a lot as the matches have progressed – he has got more control and he has given us wickets in the initial overs, which is so crucial and is helping the team’s cause.
“Earlier we were thinking, there are not many spinners around, but here you already see there are four or five who are in contention. Not only that, if you see the reason why we have done so well in the last 10-11 matches after the England series is that a lot of our batsmen have managed to put up big scores; we have seen seven hundreds already being scored and all from different batsmen. In a way it’s great that everybody is chipping in with those contributions when the team requires it,” he said, adding that it was a conscious effort from the team to preserve wickets in the initial overs with the two-new balls rule in effect.
After the Ranchi ODI, India will not play a limited overs match for the next two months and will have to switch over to the longer format, and switch back into one-day mode ahead of the tri-series in Australia. But Bangar said the management was aware of this situation, and have prepared the players well for both situations. He also said having a same core group of players in both formats helps, but it could go either way in terms of performance.
“Simultaneously we have been practicing even for the longer format,” he said. “Players who were part of the Test team have also been around with us. We have been practicing with the Test matches in mind as well, so the preparations are happening simultaneously.
“It can go either way. We don’t really want too many players playing too much leading up to the World Cup, and probably 80 percent of the team is playing both formats of the game. So that shouldn’t really be an issue. The more time we spend in Australia, the better we get used to the pace and bounce of the wickets, which will help us when we approach a tournament like the World Cup as well.”