When one considers Indian cricket, it has been dominated by spin with the pacers playing more of a supportive role. However, the narrative has changed dramatically in the last couple of seasons. In 2018, the world has seen the emergence of a deadly breed called the Indian fast bowler. At the end of the Melbourne Test, there was a stat which showed how India fast bowling had come off age. Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma became the most lethal fast bowling trio ever, taking a total of 136 Test wickets in the entire calendar year of 2018. They broke the previous record of 130 wickets which was taken by Holding, Marshall and Garner in 84. The likes of Steyn, Morkel and Philander have taken 123 wickets in 2008. Not only are the trio the most lethal as far as numbers are concerned, the current lot of Indian bowlers have now taken the most wickets ever in a calendar year.
Hailing the contributions of the fast bowlers, legendary all-rounder and captain of the Indian team which won the 2018 World Cup Kapil Dev hailed the performance of the current lot in the squad. “Beautiful, fantastic... in the last 15 months no other team has done so well in pace bowling. The Indian team has done so well, I don't have to say anything, they have done so well... it is unbelievable,” Kapil said on the sidelines of an event.
Kapil said all the hard work put in the last couple of decades reflected in the change of culture that has brought more fast bowlers to the fore in the country. “An Indian fast bowler coming out and playing so hard, sometime you feel how the hell they are doing all that. But I think it is good to have change of culture, a fast bowler is fantastic. It is not the last two years, the last 20 years hard work you can see the result. Result doesn't come overnight. Now we set the benchmark very high. Now you will find more fast bowlers keep on coming, better players will keep on coming. Because the trend of Indian cricket is moving on the better side,” Kapil said.
Bumrah's haul of 48 wickets is the most by an Indian in a calendar year, breaking Dilip Doshi's record of 40 in 1979. Bumrah’s tally of 48 wickets, combined with Shami’s 47 and Ishant’s 41 in the calendar year have played a vital part in India securing wins in all the three countries. The exploits of the fast bowlers have put India on the cusp of a historic series win in Australia.