New Delhi: His significant contribution in creating a pool of quality speedsters cannot be ignored and India's bowling coach Bharat Arun is already focussed on his next goal -- preparing the talented back-up pacers keeping an eye on the 2019 World Cup in England.
The team management has already got their core pacers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah as far as the limited overs format is concerned. Arun, along with head coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli, will be looking to at least have three more back-up options in place.
"Yes, the Sri Lanka T20 Tri-series will give us ample opportunity to test the bench strength of our pace bowling unit. We have two world-class operators in Bhuvi and Bumrah but we have also created a good pool. The pacers (Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat) who are going to Sri Lanka will be looking forward to grabbing the opportunity," Arun told PTI.
"Since we have a long season ahead, we have to be ready for any injury or fitness issues. Shardul Thakur has come up nicely and done well in South Africa also. Even Shami and Umesh are very much in contention as they will be playing the Deodhar Trophy (for India A and B respectively)," Arun said.
Most of the current bowlers have had their stint at the National Cricket Academy as juniors and Arun as a former coach at NCA has seen them from close quarters. So does he think Jaydev Unadkat, after his success in T20 format, can be successful in the ODIs (he has played a few) and give India a left-arm option, Arun said: "Since I am not a selector, I wouldn't comment whether he should be in the ODI scheme of things but as a coach, my job is to believe that each and every bowler at this level possess the quality and temperament to be successful.
"Adaptability is the key and it differs from player to player. If Jaydev can adapt well, then there is no reason why he can't play ODIs for India," the former India pacer said.
For someone, who has watched Bumrah start his international career as a T20 specialist and now spreading his wings in the Test arena, Arun never had doubts about the Gujarat bowler's success. "We always knew that Jasprit had potential. He is versatile and can cause trouble for any batsman both with new and old ball," said Arun.
But what gives the bowling coach even more satisfaction is the fact that finally they have been able to put in place a potent mix of pacers, who can get 20 wickets in a Test match. "Bhuvi is now bowling close to 140 kmph and can swing the ball both ways. Shami has this ability to produce a devastating spell out of nowhere and Ishant with his height can create disconcerting bounce. Also Ishant is a workhorse," Arun was effusive in his praise.
Asked what was the strategy for the South African batsmen, Arun said that idea was to give them as less as possible deliveries on drivable length. "Ravi told one day: 'Boys all your driving licenses should be kept at home. He said that treat South African conditions as your home conditions. For example, Ishant is from Delhi and when he is playing in Kolkata, it is not exactly his home but he treats it as his home.
"Similarly, Ravi told the boys that think Cape Town or Johannesburg as your home conditions and you will see a change in mindset. And Virat's leadership was exceptional. Any praise is less for him," said Arun.
Michael Holding recently commented that Bumrah's hit-the-deck action may not work in England where ideally the ball should kiss the surface. While agreeing that there is a scope for improvement, he differed with Holding's assertion.
"I don't think that it is fair to judge any bowler without even checking him out in particular conditions. There are areas where we can work but how can one conclude that Bumrah can't be successful in England, when he has not even played a Test there.
"Cricket is also like boxing. If you are going to not get into ring due to fear of getting hurt, then you will never be able to hit. This team doesn't fear losing, they only think about winning." For him coaching is about providing inputs.
"You know the secret of this team's success. The bowlers themselves find solution. We as a coaching unit, only give inputs but they have to know how to use those inputs. It's a process of self discovery and they have learnt it," Arun concluded.