Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. The pace quartet currently in the Virat Kohli-led Indian cricket team has become the envy of the cricketing world. In the recent series between South Africa and Bangladesh, the Indian pacers got more wickets than the spinners. Bumrah has been India's ace in overseas conditions, taking a hat-trick in the West Indies while helping India win a series in Australia for the first time. Ishant, on the other hand, has matured into a premier strike bowler and this current quartet is on par with some of the best fast bowling units in the world.
However, the base for their current dominance was laid about 40 years ago and according to former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop, the exploits of former India skipper Kapil Dev is responsible for the dominance of the current India side. Kapil Dev was the beacon of fast bowling at a time when spin dominated in India and he became the first Indian bowler to go past 400 wickets, briefly becoming the leading wicket-taker in Tests in the mid-90s.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Bishop said, "Let's remember that this group of bowlers did not emanate right now. The foundation was laid - if you go back to Kapil (Dev) and down the line, Javagal Srinath, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel, Sreesanth. Now it's been built on with a captain who likes fast bowlers, who believes in them. But also the fact that you've found a generational talent in Jasprit Bumrah. Generational because he plays all formats of the game very well. And (Mohd.) Shami has taken his game to another level. Ishant (Sharma) has also gone up another level."
Bishop also hailed the contributions of Bharat Arun, the current bowling coach of the Indian cricket team but he refused to go into comparisons with other fast bowling pairs who had dominated the cricketing world in the 80s and 90s. "Credit to Bharath Arun, the bowling coach, and the administrators and captains. I couldn't see this much (improvement), but I thought there was a great deal of promise in having guys who could bowl close to, or over, 90mph. They (Indians) have been performing that well that the comparisons are going to come. I would want to stay away from it, because I don't know how you measure it. When people talk about (Michael) Holding and (Joel) Garner and (Malcolm) Marshall and (Colin) Croft and (Andy) Roberts - who bowled together for so many years - how do you compare with that?," Bishop said.
Bishop is also hailing the current period in cricket for producing some amazing fast bowlers. He said he loved Shami while Jofra Archer was brilliant to watch when he is firing on all cylinders. "There are so many. Jofra Archer. I almost feel when he's on song that it's the perfect streamlined technique. Naseem Shah. Jasprit Bumrah. Mohammed Shami - oh god, I love Shami! That whole core group of what India bring, where I don't want to pick anyone and say, 'This one more than the other'. But, I am salivating about world cricket (because of fast bowling talent). That is exciting," Bishop said.
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