Former West Indies all-rounder and coach Phil Simmons lauded the current Indian pace attack and observed that they have added a layer of excitement to world cricket.
India’s fast bowlers demolished Bangladesh to clinch the recent Test series 2-0, and what was more impressive was that they have achieved it without Jasprit Bumrah, the pace spearhead.
The trio of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav were almost unplayable in the two matches. “I can’t say how long ago, but when I first came here, you would have Madan Lal opening the bowling,” Simmons was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. “Now you have guys bowling at 90 miles per hour opening and your premier fast bowler [Bumrah] was injured for this Test, so you still have him to come back. It’s exciting for world cricket.”
He added, “Teams know now that you have to play properly on both sides – you have to have proper fast bowlers and proper spinners to beat India. Fast bowling from anybody is exciting, so it’s great to see that happen.”
Simmons is in India as coach of the West Indies team, who are taking on Afghanistan in a one-off Test starting from Wednesday. The former opener is back as the Windies coach for a second spell.
Simmons was impressed with what he had seen of India’s inaugural day-night Test at the Eden Gardens. “I did watch the first day. It was exciting to see Eden Gardens full. It’s an awesome sight,” Simmons said.
He also endorsed Indian captain Virat Kohli’s views on how Test cricket should be marketed. “I think Virat hit the nail on the head when he said we have to promote Test cricket as hard as we promote T20. Even though T20 has more money involved, we have to promote it the same way. I think if that’s done, we can see a resurgence of big crowds in Test cricket anywhere you go in the world.”
The Eden Gardens Test finished early on day three, but drew big crowds on all three days.