West Indies great Ian Bishop was all praise for India’s current fast bowling unit, saying he could not have anticipated the improvement in the line-up a few years back.
The former fast bowler that the foundation for this success was laid by likes of Kapil Dev, Javagal Srinath, and Zaheer Khan, which Virat Kohli – a captain who believes in a strong bowling unit – has built on. He also called Jasprit Bumrah a once-in-a-generation talent.
“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,” Bishop said in an interview with ESPNCricinfo.
“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 Shami has taken his game to another level. Ishant [Sharma] has also gone up another level,” he added.
The 52-year-old Bishop, who took 161 wickets in 43 Tests between 1989 and 1998, said he couldn’t have predicted that India’s fast bowlers would come to the Caribbean and do to the West Indians what they did to others so many decades ago.
“So 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,” he said.
Bishop also named uncapped 21-year-old Uttar Pradesh pacer Shivam Mavi and 19-year-old Rajasthan’s Kamlesh Nagarkoti as the future prospects for India.
“I’m eagerly waiting to see if Shivam Mavi and Kamlesh Nagarkoti can be fit and continue their progress. Nagarkoti, in particular.”
He, however, refused to compare the Indian unit to the fearsome West Indians of the past.
“Well, they 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?” he asked.
Bishop also said that while it is hard pick the best among the current crop of exciting fast bowlers in the world, Jofra Archer had the best technique of them all at present.
“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’.
“If I had to pick the best technique right now, Jofra Archer when he’s firing. But, I am salivating about world cricket [because of fast bowling talent]. That is exciting.”
With PTI Inputs