With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav at their disposal, India skipper Virat Kohli is a happy and content leader. Rating his team’s pace battery as the best in the world, Kohli said it’s a special feeling to see India’s fast bowling unit dominating the world cricket and is leaving an impact everywhere they travel.
The pacemen, led by Bumrah who is now recovering from an injury, have been excellent in the last year or so for Kohli and Co. taking a lot of wickets and firing in tandem to take the pressure off the spinners. Besides Bumrah, the likes of Shami and Ishant have also excelled for the team consistently. With Umesh rediscovering himself and joining the party in their previous home series against South Africa – top-ranked India appear to be the side to beat in the red-ball format.
“Well, if you ask we are right at the top. I won’t even count ourselves among the top 3. These guys deserve it. When we started off, that was the conversation. When I took over as captain, I really wanted to see our fast bowlers dominate world cricket,” Kohli said on the eve of their first Test against Bangladesh in Indore.
“Spin was never an issue, batting was never an issue. After Zak (Zaheer Khan) and all these stalwarts went away, we were thinking how can we get back to the top and have the ability and the firepower to pick up 20 wickets,” he said.
“Just see the way they have bowled. It’s their belief that stands out. Any kind of pitch, any kind of opposition. They believe they can get more out of any pitch than the opposition. That belief matters a lot.
“I couldn’t be more happy for them. The best thing is they are still not done yet. They are getting hungrier every time they go out. And they love bowling together. I think that’s their biggest strength. The trust, the camaraderie and the belief they have is pushing this team forward,” said the captain.
When asked what could be the make-up of the pace attack for the first rubber before they head off to Kolkata for the first-ever Day-Night Test, Kohli hinted at fielding three seamers. “Well, that (3 pacers) seems pretty likely after looking at the pitch. Also, because of the way Umesh (Yadav) has bowled. (Mohammed) Shami has been brilliant. (Jasprit) Bumrah is not fit yet. Ishant (Sharma) has probably been our most consistent bowler in the last few years.
“A big reason for success in Test cricket is his ability to keep bowling in the same areas and others come in and pick up wickets. Also, he has picked up 4,5 wickets on many occasions.
“I think his experience will always be handy for the team. The communication is pretty clear. We have played cricket since the time we were 17. He understands that when I go and tell something to him, it’s purely based on team requirements. He took it really well. Ishant’s strengths are different when the conditions are swinging and seaming,” said Kohli.
On having permanent Test venues, Kohli reiterated that having fixed set of venues could revive the fortunes of the longest format. “I said that because if you look at the ratio, a stadium like Indore attracted a decent crowd but a lot of others didn’t. And it can’t be that one stadium gets games and the others don’t.
“Indore is the kind of place where if you play a T20, you won’t find a single empty seat. And in One-dayers, it won’t be empty at all. It’s not about taking away matches from them. Just a vision about how we can get together and raise Test cricket,” the 31-year old signed off.