India v Sri Lanka, Champions Trophy, semi-final, Cardiff June 20, 2013

Ishant, Kumar, Yadav find pack mentality

India's three seamers clicked as a unit for the first time in Cardiff to great effect
  shares 55

West Indies were the pioneers of the fast bowling pack mentality in the 20th century. England have been the flag bearers of that method in the new millennium. It is a strategy where three or more fast bowers operate in tandem and work with each other to a pre-set plan. The batsmen get no respite. They are bombarded not only by short-pitched balls, but also tested with cunning swing, while being lured into playing a false stroke by length deliveries. Within quick time the deadly pack has successfully cast a spell over the batsmen, who are clueless and their end comes in desperation.

On Thursday, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav operated with that bowling pack mentality for the first time since they have been playing together. Such was their dominance that India had the match in the bag after just 22 overs. In those 108 minutes, the trio had punched their opponents with such ferocity that Sri Lanka could hardly stand up to the count. The Sri Lankans were not physically wounded but had been mentally disintegrated - not with words, but with balls of fire.

Cardiff woke up to overcast weather as was forecast days ahead of the match. Thankfully, apart from the early morning faint drizzle, Sophia Gardens remained mostly unaffected. But it was perfect weather for a fast bowler: overcast and humid with a light breeze. If you failed, you were not a fast bowler.

A good start was the key. Like he has done on every occasion this tournament, Kumar remained precise. Not even 6-feet tall, Kumar possesses a supple and straight wrist, which he uses cleverly by maintaining a tidy length. Allied to good pace in the region of 85 mph (135 kph), Kumar has the priceless ability to swing the new ball both ways. Coupled with the angles and the fuller lengths, he pushed the batsmen on the back foot straightaway. Kusal Perera did not last long as he chased a delivery that left him. Even an accomplished batsman like Kumar Sangakkara played out a maiden, circumspect to the movement Kumar was generating.

At the other end Yadav was his usual self, bowling fast and hitting the deck hard. In the group stage Yadav had failed to maintain a firm grip over the batsmen due to an inconsistent line and length. But today, he recovered fast after being punched by Tillakaratne Dilshan for couple of successive boundaries in his second over. His immediate response was an accurate bouncer, which beat Dilshan for pace. The next ball was a perfectly aligned yorker, which Dilshan dug out, but only just. Later Yadav bowled two maidens to Lahiru Thirimanne.

It was now Ishant's turn. His form had been patchy. In the tournament opener, against South Africa, he had been short and was the most expensive bowler. But he came back in the next match against West Indies by bowling an aggressive line, but once again leaked runs in the victory against Pakistan. But today he remained accurate throughout. Mainly he stuck to pitching short on the off stump, posing a lot of questions to Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene with balls that were pitched short of a length and seamed away late.

"If you are bowling in good areas then no batsman can threaten you."
Ishant Sharma

With the first ball of his fourth over, Ishant bowled from slightly wide of the crease. Jayawardene knew the plan: the ball was going to come in and then leave him. Yet like a snake charmer, Ishant got Sri Lanka's best batsman out of his comfort zone, forcing him to play at a delivery that opened him up before nearly taking an edge. Jayawardene scolded himself for getting tempted.

Ishant maintained the control when he returned for his second spell late in the innings when the pitch had become flat. He continued banging it in hard and made a mockery of the hard-hitting Thisara Perera, who remained muted against the short-pitched delivery and was caught in the deep going for a duck.

"If you are bowling in good areas then no batsman can threaten you," Ishant said. "That is what we have done in the last five games. And that is what we will do in the final."

Discipline is a key component behind any successful bowling pack and the Indian fast men have never been consistent for long periods of time. Today the first extra came in the 20th over. Such high standards convinced MS Dhoni to set Test-match like 7-2 fields. But for such a plan to work the bowler cannot falter as a loose ball down the leg side, even by an inch, releases all the pressure created in the preceding over. Perhaps Joe Dawes, the Indian bowling coach, can enjoy a nice drink tonight, considering he had focused individually with each seamer on Tuesday on getting the right lengths in the nets.

Yet it is easy to get carried away. Obviously the conditions were favourable in the morning. And for the bowling pack to succeed it is imperative that every bowler understand the plan and works collectively towards that. To succeed there are some rules: you work for each other; you make sure you understand each other and each other's strengths; you carry forward the good work of your partner.

Variety is the other key factor behind a successful pack. Take England's fast bowling group in the 2005 Ashes. Andrew Flintoff hit the deck and seamed it, Matthew Hoggard swung the ball, Steve Harmison added height and pace and Simon Jones became an expert in reverse-swing. Their relentless attack subdued the otherwise dominant Australian batting. Today Sri Lanka suffered the same fate.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Finding a pack mentality...a beautiful way to describe today's bowling. Consistency is only thing that is keeping us away from being named after the great attacks that are mentioned in this article. This Indian team can achieve much higher greatness by working with the bowling coach and getting the right direction for our young battery. All in all, I am impressed with the effort put in by our team and hope (pray) that they can perform consistently.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    its such a nice feeling to read article which says something about INDIAN BOWLERS.... we have all fed up with indian batsmen's article..... as everyone , i am very surprised to see this type of clinical combined attack from indian bowlers, not only pacers, but the spinners tooo..... who would imagine indian spinners will get wickets in ENGLISH conditions???? amazing isn't it this is the result of inclusion of some YOUNG BLOOD in the team, their fielders support the bowlers, and bowlers will get them wickets......

    can some body give me the statistics of number of dot balls that indian bowlers bowled for every team in the CT13.... i have read it somewhere, it may come around 25 overs in each game.. i tried stats guru but couldnt find any stats like that...... can anybody provide those stats.....it would be rejoicing for indian fan....

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | June 22, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    one department of the Indian game that will stand the test in any condition no matter how swinging or seaming or dead track with no assistance..is the new strength of this team. Their fielding, ground and catching. They are a dominant fielding side.

  • POSTED BY on | June 22, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    @dravid_gravitas - why are u worried about his pace - his control over is swing and ability to ball at different angles is so good that even if he loses pace it won't make a lot of difference, provided he maintains his swing. At death if he can learn slower ball, yorker and reverse swing he can be very effective in all 3 formats. He can be the Indian version of Vaas - I haven't seen Kapil so Indians don't kill me I am only 17. @testcricmaniac - why are u hammering Praveen Kumar - he bowled very well in England got injured, and after being inconsistent in CB series he got dumped which to me is very unfair. Not Raina, not Jadeja (I am talking about early 2012 so before I was proven wrong about him), but Praveen Kumar. Even his injury was like the first in 3 years. So the topic of persisting with non performer doesn't apply to him because they never persisted with him in the first place.

  • POSTED BY PeterJerome on | June 22, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    We have to thanks our legendary cricketers for the Indian Cricket team that we see today. Players like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar & VVS were the guys who set the foundations of the current team. The structural changes were implemented by them and better by the current lot. I see a good team overall for a long period of time to follow, not based on performance in the CT but bcos of the structure of this team. Dhawan, Pujara, Virat, DK all look good players of the short-pitched stuff. Dhoni Raina will get there surely with time.

  • POSTED BY Fast_Track_Bully on | June 22, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @ mark2011. I just saw Yuvi should be in the 11 instead of Dhoni. Different people have different opinion. Lot of people asked for Board's head after their first match and now?

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    Indian attack has looked good for some time now. Its good to see Ishant maturing, he had been on the receiving end of lots of criticism from a long time, but he seems to have atleast worked on his errs. Bhuvi is a genius, should he build some muscles in the coming future, an added 5-10 yards per hour will make him as lethal as any bowler around the world. Those criticizing Umesh for his lacked pace in the last match didn't see that he was focusing on swinging the ball rather than hitting the deck hard. Harsha Bhogle pointed that out too. Last but not the least, the coaching staff needs to be congratulated too. Eyebrows were raised when the tenure of Duncan Flecher was increased, but the captain and the management knew that good things were being done. Duncan couldn't have changed much about the aging Sehwags, Gambhirs, Dravids, Zaheers or Harbhajans. Skills belong to the player but look at the discipline that has been brought in terms of lines, lengths, consistencies and the fielding.

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | June 21, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Not sure about these guys hunting as a pack yet. India's pace bowling is still its weakest link. But I'll tell you who hunt in packs - the fielders in the inner ring - Raina, Kohli, Jadeja, Rohit and DK. They are a menace to any batting side.

  • POSTED BY zarasochozarasamjho on | June 21, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    The conditions were ideal for bowling. It was, as quite often is the case,a good toss to win. While the signs are encouraging, India has to prove itself when they play REAL cricket i.e test cricket. This is where all restrictions are removed and performance has to be sustained over the full 5 days of bowling and batting. As a Pakistan supporter, I do wish India well and look forward to their winning the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday.

  • POSTED BY testcricmaniac on | June 21, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    I feel it is all because of new Selection Committee. Srikanth was just awful in that representation from every zone was being taken care of without concerns about the national team. During his time I had always felt Dhoni wasn't getting what he wanted as the selectors were so insecure to drop names like Sehwag, Bhajji, Gambhir, Yuvi, Zaheer, Sachin fearing that failure by the team with the inclusion of young blood would make them look stupid. Dhoni had been hinting at unfit players leaking extra 25-30 runs but the selectors were blind. Sandeep Patil at the helm corrected all these. It almost feels like Dhoni and Sandeep are in complete harmony here. Given this perception to myself, I could guess the complete team for CT. Only place i went wrong was DK's as i thought he would make a great pair with SD. Instead Rohit got the opening slot. Kudos to the selectors for purely trusting in talent and performance and not including players like Bhajji, Piyush,Yuvi, Sehwag, Gambhir, Praveen Kuma

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 3:45 GMT

    Finding a pack mentality...a beautiful way to describe today's bowling. Consistency is only thing that is keeping us away from being named after the great attacks that are mentioned in this article. This Indian team can achieve much higher greatness by working with the bowling coach and getting the right direction for our young battery. All in all, I am impressed with the effort put in by our team and hope (pray) that they can perform consistently.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    its such a nice feeling to read article which says something about INDIAN BOWLERS.... we have all fed up with indian batsmen's article..... as everyone , i am very surprised to see this type of clinical combined attack from indian bowlers, not only pacers, but the spinners tooo..... who would imagine indian spinners will get wickets in ENGLISH conditions???? amazing isn't it this is the result of inclusion of some YOUNG BLOOD in the team, their fielders support the bowlers, and bowlers will get them wickets......

    can some body give me the statistics of number of dot balls that indian bowlers bowled for every team in the CT13.... i have read it somewhere, it may come around 25 overs in each game.. i tried stats guru but couldnt find any stats like that...... can anybody provide those stats.....it would be rejoicing for indian fan....

  • POSTED BY Vilander on | June 22, 2013, 17:27 GMT

    one department of the Indian game that will stand the test in any condition no matter how swinging or seaming or dead track with no assistance..is the new strength of this team. Their fielding, ground and catching. They are a dominant fielding side.

  • POSTED BY on | June 22, 2013, 14:06 GMT

    @dravid_gravitas - why are u worried about his pace - his control over is swing and ability to ball at different angles is so good that even if he loses pace it won't make a lot of difference, provided he maintains his swing. At death if he can learn slower ball, yorker and reverse swing he can be very effective in all 3 formats. He can be the Indian version of Vaas - I haven't seen Kapil so Indians don't kill me I am only 17. @testcricmaniac - why are u hammering Praveen Kumar - he bowled very well in England got injured, and after being inconsistent in CB series he got dumped which to me is very unfair. Not Raina, not Jadeja (I am talking about early 2012 so before I was proven wrong about him), but Praveen Kumar. Even his injury was like the first in 3 years. So the topic of persisting with non performer doesn't apply to him because they never persisted with him in the first place.

  • POSTED BY PeterJerome on | June 22, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    We have to thanks our legendary cricketers for the Indian Cricket team that we see today. Players like Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar & VVS were the guys who set the foundations of the current team. The structural changes were implemented by them and better by the current lot. I see a good team overall for a long period of time to follow, not based on performance in the CT but bcos of the structure of this team. Dhawan, Pujara, Virat, DK all look good players of the short-pitched stuff. Dhoni Raina will get there surely with time.

  • POSTED BY Fast_Track_Bully on | June 22, 2013, 6:31 GMT

    @ mark2011. I just saw Yuvi should be in the 11 instead of Dhoni. Different people have different opinion. Lot of people asked for Board's head after their first match and now?

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    Indian attack has looked good for some time now. Its good to see Ishant maturing, he had been on the receiving end of lots of criticism from a long time, but he seems to have atleast worked on his errs. Bhuvi is a genius, should he build some muscles in the coming future, an added 5-10 yards per hour will make him as lethal as any bowler around the world. Those criticizing Umesh for his lacked pace in the last match didn't see that he was focusing on swinging the ball rather than hitting the deck hard. Harsha Bhogle pointed that out too. Last but not the least, the coaching staff needs to be congratulated too. Eyebrows were raised when the tenure of Duncan Flecher was increased, but the captain and the management knew that good things were being done. Duncan couldn't have changed much about the aging Sehwags, Gambhirs, Dravids, Zaheers or Harbhajans. Skills belong to the player but look at the discipline that has been brought in terms of lines, lengths, consistencies and the fielding.

  • POSTED BY NP_NY on | June 21, 2013, 18:59 GMT

    Not sure about these guys hunting as a pack yet. India's pace bowling is still its weakest link. But I'll tell you who hunt in packs - the fielders in the inner ring - Raina, Kohli, Jadeja, Rohit and DK. They are a menace to any batting side.

  • POSTED BY zarasochozarasamjho on | June 21, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    The conditions were ideal for bowling. It was, as quite often is the case,a good toss to win. While the signs are encouraging, India has to prove itself when they play REAL cricket i.e test cricket. This is where all restrictions are removed and performance has to be sustained over the full 5 days of bowling and batting. As a Pakistan supporter, I do wish India well and look forward to their winning the ICC Champions Trophy on Sunday.

  • POSTED BY testcricmaniac on | June 21, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    I feel it is all because of new Selection Committee. Srikanth was just awful in that representation from every zone was being taken care of without concerns about the national team. During his time I had always felt Dhoni wasn't getting what he wanted as the selectors were so insecure to drop names like Sehwag, Bhajji, Gambhir, Yuvi, Zaheer, Sachin fearing that failure by the team with the inclusion of young blood would make them look stupid. Dhoni had been hinting at unfit players leaking extra 25-30 runs but the selectors were blind. Sandeep Patil at the helm corrected all these. It almost feels like Dhoni and Sandeep are in complete harmony here. Given this perception to myself, I could guess the complete team for CT. Only place i went wrong was DK's as i thought he would make a great pair with SD. Instead Rohit got the opening slot. Kudos to the selectors for purely trusting in talent and performance and not including players like Bhajji, Piyush,Yuvi, Sehwag, Gambhir, Praveen Kuma

  • POSTED BY Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on | June 21, 2013, 15:53 GMT

    If BK doesn't drop his pace further, he'll go places. He is accurate, unrelenting and skillful, working up decent pace. He just needs to maintain this. If any, add some pace. If he can't do that, he can just leave it as it is. Umesh needs to maintain some consistent lines. Ishant needs to pitch it up a little further. He is too short most of the times making him a perennial 'unlucky' bowler in the wickets column. Pitch it up futher if he doesn't want to be that 'unlucky' bowler. With Shami, Mohit, Rahul Shukla and other pacers in the domestics, the pace department looks safe and good if not great. Combine these good bowling stocks with great batting stocks and excellent fielders, I don't see how India can be pushed aside easily in international cricket for the next couple of years to 4 years. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • POSTED BY Cricket_archive on | June 21, 2013, 15:35 GMT

    I think ishant is a good bowler but not good enough to handle critical phases of match when batsmen are in an attacking mode and he lacks the temperament and aggressiveness of a fast bowler and do not offer enough in the field.After playing so many matches he is not good enogh and lacks consistency.He is a weak link in this Indian side and should be replaced by a better bowler like Mohit sharma.

  • POSTED BY Unconstitutional_PCB_Chief on | June 21, 2013, 15:22 GMT

    Any final is not easy to play no matter how well prepared you are. However, Indian squad looks very fit to play this final, particularly their mental fitness and this mental fitness will play a key role on the outcome of the final. It is true when bowler bowel in the good areas then no batsman can threat the bowler; this is where opposition sends some one to disrupt the bowler or batsmen take more risk to get the required result or someone who can rotate the strike then there is no need to take risk. England has the very balanced team as a matter of fact most balanced team in the tournament. England seam bowling has clear edge but Indian batting is fully equipped to counter that. If condition favors seam bowling then favor tilts on English side. If spinners get help then it is India who will have clear advantage. If pitch delivers balance with Bat vs. Ball then we will be looking forward to a classic final.

  • POSTED BY IndCricFan2013 on | June 21, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    It is all happening because MSD's innovations. He pretty much plays the match according to the strength of his bowlers. Since Buvi can be so effective at the start, he bowls him out. It is like MSD is playing two 25 over matches. Very intense bowling and high energy fielding in the first 20 overs or so. Then comes spinners and part times for next 20, continue to restrict run flow and bowls the overs quickly. Then the last 5 to 10 based on who is bowling best and who is batting lower order or some one close to getting a hundred and things of that nature. MSD changes according to how the bowlers are doing through out the series. Also DK's centuries in warm up has kindled the fire in all the batsman to perform and given confidence that they could chase 300+ even after losing few wickets. They are at their best now. England has to fight very hard if they want any chance of winning this.

  • POSTED BY Nampally on | June 21, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    Yes, Ishant & Yadev bowled better in the match against SL, but there is still room for improvement. Kumar should be a great Role model of controlled length & swing bowling for Ishant & Yadev- who have greater faith in short pitched balls rather than relying on length. Both bowl around 140 KPH but are bowling consistently short of length. Even Dale Steyn at 145KPH focuses on length. If India is to use the "pack mentality" amongst the fast bowlers, it should be modelled on Kumar's accuracy & control.This is where the coaches should focus- improving length, direction & control. On the other hand Jadeja & Ashwin's "pack mentality" focused on controlled accuracy which paid rich dividends. In ODI's, economy rate matters a lot. A crucial Final vs. England is next. Indian bowlers have to be economical for their batsmen to have a reasonable target to chase. Let us not forget that with Anderson, Broad & Swann/Tredwell, England focuses on accuracy. Fight England on Bowling Economy to WIN!

  • POSTED BY ProdigyA on | June 21, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    Happy that the Indian bowling attack is doing well. But Umesh's pace was really disappointing. Bowling 135's when he should be min. 145's all the time. Looks like he looses control when he tries too hard for pace and has more control when slows it down. Hope he does not turn into another Ishant or a Zak, there are plenty of them.

  • POSTED BY Noboundary on | June 21, 2013, 13:18 GMT

    If a few more talented youngsters waiting on the bench get into the team, I see this India team dominating the world of cricket for many years like WI and Aus did although may not be to that extent. Chappell and Boycott were right in their assessment: India right now has unlimited batting talent available to pick from. All other teams are having a hard time finding batting talent! Cricket is a game dominated by batsmen... I see a great future for our team.

  • POSTED BY IndianInnerEdge on | June 21, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    Pack mentality-2 to be fair2 current Indian bowlers they are far off.....those who really defined the pack mentality was the windies of 70's/80's or the Oz bowler of late 90's early 2000's....these boys have a long way 2 go2 even qualify....actually pack mentality can more be applied to ashwin& jadeja who bowl well in tandem....What is heartening is Indian bowling finally gets a mention,the gr8est thing2come out of the CT is indian pacers concious attempt to pitch it up, especially Ishant& Yadav...Ishant was very 1-dimensional,but now if he continously pitches it up he can get the batsmen on the drive,same with Yadav-with his pace if he develops reverse swinging ability,will be one hell of a bowler....I sincerelyhope thse lads donotgo the typical indian pacerroute -a la Agarkar, kuruvilla, ankola, munaf, pathan, vrv singh ....actually hope someone reading this researches into this unique indian phenomenon in which a bowler startsoff at 140-145kmph and within 2 yrs is a 120+ medium pacr

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 12:29 GMT

    Fell into tears watchin em bowl.How many time have our batsman won us games,Nothing satisfies better when our bowling is exceptional and made the Difference.Everything in Falling to place for India.Young new Recruits,Best fielding side,but always a Dangerous batting unit.Quite satisfying.Hope they continue their Dominance..!! and Not to forget the Talents are Meeting way above Expectation.

  • POSTED BY mrgupta on | June 21, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    Hoping its not a one off incident. Looking for a repeat performance in the finals. Hope India win the final.

  • POSTED BY mark2011 on | June 21, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    Ishant SHarma was scrapped by the Indian fans before the match, they didint want him to be in the playing XI, but now...............???? hyprocracy...

  • POSTED BY MaruthuDelft on | June 21, 2013, 10:47 GMT

    Pack? Not yet. Ishant and Umesh are not mentally strong. For that matter even Anderson too is not strong. If a Sehwag like attacks they will disintegrate. But fortunately England has no Sehwag. However I am certain Anderson and Finn will get rid of Indian openers in the final. Indian win depends on how Kartik, Kohli and Dhoni perform.

  • POSTED BY CricketMaan on | June 21, 2013, 10:18 GMT

    Important for Bhuvi to not end up like PK, Ishant is nex Zak, loads of potential but will take ages before he is considered a leader, Umesh must know there was a fast bowler named Munaf Patel who burst into Indian team with pace and now is no more than an offspiner playing in T20 leagues. Pathan will always be there and thereabouts! With Sree gone into oblivion, Varun Aaron virtually out of cricketing career, Vinay Kumar and PK doing drinks role, the only hope is the likes of Mohits, Ishwars, Sandeeps translate thier domestic + ipl potential to international stage. Pankaj Singh continues to take wkts in ranji, but is off the selectors radar. I see these 3 bowling in that 1st Test in SA but for any injuries. But the bench strength of VK, PK, IP won't induce any threat to SA if one of BK, IS, UY get injured. We continue to remain very vulnerable in our fast bowling stock. Sreesanth 'YOU wasted what could have been a decent Test return/career for you'

  • POSTED BY naren1983 on | June 21, 2013, 9:34 GMT

    Ishant definitely showing that he has learned something about from Steyn, his IPLforeign teammate. He is not been consistent in his career in ODIs, but he has to positve in coming years especially against SA & AUS, otherwise he can be easily replaced by Zaheer, Praveen who are itching to come to the national team.

  • POSTED BY Profkscnair on | June 21, 2013, 9:27 GMT

    India have always had good swing bowlers. In English conditions it is important that a team has two swing bowlers, a medium pacer, a fast bowler. This has been the secret of our winning the world cup in 1983. We had Binny& Sandhu for swing, madanlal for medium pace and Kapil as the fast bowler. Now we have pure pace of Umesh, swing of Bhuvi, hitting the deck Ishant and two spinners. Dhoni can plan to have him as we have the cushion of Karthik behind the stumps. Overall, i feel we have a marauding batsmen coupled with resilient bowlers, i do not have any hesitation in saying that we will be the champion. Remember, all those closing championships, india have won it and i feel this is also in the same band. All the best to Dhoni and Co and lift the spirits of all cricket loving indians

  • POSTED BY Harmony111 on | June 21, 2013, 9:20 GMT

    There we go. I do not want our team to become another England who after one good win or one good series make claims for the next 5 years or proclaim one of theirs as the next big thing. I think we should hold our horses for a while, esp cos I am not sure we even have horses to begin with. The pedigree of the likes of Ishant is still questionable & Yadav is a bit too wayward to be called a reliable Equid. I would admit that Bhuvi has impressed us a lot but I think he needs to add 5 more yards to become truly lethal. The match vs SL was a good one for all of Indian pace bowlers but I can't help feeling that a better attack would have made finer mincemeat of the hapless Sri Lankans who were all at sea all day long.

    Irrespective of how Ishant does in the final or has done so far in CT13, I think he needs to go back to classroom and receive some Matrix like data transfer to his brain. If he and Yadav can improve by 20%, India will have a terrific bowling attack but that day is a bit far.

  • POSTED BY ravikini on | June 21, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    Wow!! nice article. At last something about the Indian bowlers. Brilliantly written. Just read it a couple of times to grasp the literary joy and am still smacking my lips. Delicious...!!!!

  • POSTED BY sailorsupreme on | June 21, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    'caught in the deep going for a duck' what do you mean Nagaraj? The Lankans were completely overwhelmed by a superior team and fanatic Lankan fans have to ack Indi's superiority, at least in this tournament. Lankans were shown their place like they were in the WC final by Dhoni When Lalinga got SRT in the WC final he went around the ground in a celebratory run. The whole of India watched in silence and the team showed they have not forgotten that.When they had reached 275 riding on Mahela's superlative 100 they thought they had a winning score but Dhoni gave them a rude jolt then. Yesterday the Indian bowlers did not allow them any space at all.Clinically dismantled and cast aside.

    Lankans never got going.Gave up after 22 overs of their batting and simply went through the motions. Very difficult to recover from such a hiding. In the final England will want its batsmen to score more freely. India has the confidence to chase down a big total. All teams have struggled,save India.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 7:36 GMT

    I think this article stretched the praise bit too far...They did well and have done well throughout the tournament in bursts of individual brilliance...but they are not a pack yet.

    Members of a pack know their own strengths well.. and also the strengths of their bowling partners... they work together in setting up batsmen, one after another. To think of a more recent example- Waqar and Wasim. If Waqar's yorkers didn't get you, Wasim's swing would. Batsmen had no respite and were always on their toes against these guys. I don't think we have seen anything of that sort as far as India's fast-bowlers are concerned. Somehow someone always lets off the steam.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 7:35 GMT

    Ishant has been far too inconsistent in the last 2 years to be redeemed in just one tournament. These are positive signs but he has to do much more.. and he has to be much fuller, consistent and focussed. The promise has been held up for too many years now... he should have been leading the "pack" right now, not trying to prove himself with outing.

    Bhuvi knows he is not fast but is fast enough given his skill with the swing and he has been the most impressive of the entire lot we have seen in the last 2 years. Consistently delivering, playing his part to perfection and in the meantime assuring us that he is no mug with the bat as well.

    Umesh has been bowling well since his return but has the tendency to get carried away- it happens.. he is fast (fastest we have), strong and stuff like this can happen. it would have been great to have a Zaheer constantly guide him and others on the field- its a big loss for Indian cricket. Zaheer never got enough time on the field with the bunch.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 7:22 GMT

    Its bit too much to even mention the erstwhile Windies pace attack in the same article. This group is light years away from that status and calling a group of fast bowlers a "pack" requires at least 1-2 years of consistent performance in all conditions- dust bowls of India, swinging conditions in England or bouncy pitches of Australia and South Africa- We judge batsmen also on similar scales, don't we?

    Besides they were bowling to Sri Lanka, never too good against quality fast bowling. Despite all the shortcomings of this group, I must admit I like these guys and I am sure lot of Indian fans (especially those who understand and follow fast bowling) do. They hold a promise and with some more names like Shami, Ishwar Pandey, Mohit Sharma and Kaul we would have a good battery to choose from. To be counted as regular members from there on would depend on their performance. Reputations can get players into the team and onto the field- after that the world will judge you.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Excellent article. By seeing the way they bowled , it is hard for an Indian fan to expect more than this. But I still feel Zaheer Khan needs to be there in this team atleast for 2 more years . Bhuvi definitely needs to gain some experience as our attack leader .

  • POSTED BY sachin_vvsfan on | June 21, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    @the_blue_android me too. I thought his best was far behind in 2008 and never expected a MOM for ishant in ODIs. Hope he does this consistently

  • POSTED BY Naresh28 on | June 21, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    FOR ME as an Indian Fan, I would like to see India defeat England in England. It will be good since our last tour here was not good. Both in the ODI's and tests. Although I dont believe in revenge - cause I know you win some and lose some. I like what I see of this Indian side. They have repaid our past stalwarts by showing that as a young side they can take Indian cricket forward. Sachin can quietly go out knowing the team is in good hands. Dhoni will start to prepare the next leader.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 6:44 GMT

    Getting euphoric about bowler performances is fine, but don't lose sight of the on-field support they got (something that a lot of their predecessors did not have).

    Naming just the best of the lot - Jadeja, Raina, Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Dhawan......

    These guys ensured that a) batsmen did not change ends easily. Bowler does not need to plan for a different batsman every ball. b) blocked a lot of boundaries & converted a lot of half chances all around the field, allowing he bowlers to relax as they bowl (Relaxed since the bowler knows - unlike in the past, the fielding support will protect the him from an error & make the batsman pay for the slightest error he makes).

  • POSTED BY RanKan on | June 21, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    Hero to Zero in 6 balls - last over against SA. Zero to Hero in 8 overs yesterday. Reputations rise and fall and rise again quicker than a late model Ferrari. The love of South Asians for cricket is the only constant - and so here is to wishing India a Champion's Trophy!

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    One swallow does not make a summer . Let us hope this praise in not premature.Until ,ithis attack plays against the English batsmen ,adept at playing in such conditions. The luxury of bowling first with even Dhoni proving effective puts the conditions in its true perpective

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 5:28 GMT

    @al_bundy - seriously ishwar pandey. Have u seen the irani cup. He got hammered. Fact is the indian domestic system needs to be more competitive. Which means that national players also have to play the domestic tournaments. Time to follow Imran Khan's advise - have a shortened domestic season to a couple of months and have a separate window for international players to also play. Mohit sharma barely played 11 first class games. What about praveen kumar. U want irfan pathan to be out - in his last ODI series he was the highest wicket taker for a fast bowler. What wrong has he done.

  • POSTED BY hotcric01 on | June 21, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    Yes.Indian fast bowling has been improved a lot.But they should maintain a squad of talented fast bowlers and rotate them just like Australia.Because they should not depend on only two or three fast bowlers.when one gets injured,they should have a better replacement. Praveen,Vinay,Mohit,Unadkat,Shami,Abu nechim these all are talented different kind of pace bowlers and India should take care of them.I think well directed short pitched ball is the best weapon for Ishant.With bounce,seam movement and correct line it is very hard delivery to play.It would be useful in test format too.Bhuvi is always impressing natural talent.Can he be a right arm vaas? Umesh with pace+accuracy is always a strike bowler.They should keep the consistency for a long time period.

  • POSTED BY sidganesh on | June 21, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    India's bowling will be severely tested by the Test-like top order batting of England. And with Root and Morgan following the top three, they could post a challenging score. Conversely, if England bowl first and it happens to be a wet and cloudy day, India's top order could be in for their biggest challenge in a long time. England will believe they start as favourites but India could well surprise them with their ferocious batting, especially if the day is dry.

  • POSTED BY the_blue_android on | June 21, 2013, 5:24 GMT

    never thought I'd see a day when Ishant would be the MOM in an ODI( or any format for that matter). LOL This coming from hardcore Indian fan LOL

  • POSTED BY satishchandar on | June 21, 2013, 5:12 GMT

    Thats a good article.. At the same time, i would put it to the captain for using the bowlers more effectively under these conditions.. With 2 new balls, it will take min 20 overs for atleast one ball to lose its shine a bit which will aid spinners.. With just 3 pace bowlers and no good backup apart from Virat and MSD himself, any captain would opt to use one spinner before 20 as it might turn up tough to bowl 2 spinners in last 30.. What if one had off day and got hit around..

    A gutful decision from MSD to bowl pacemen in 20 though aided by RJ in marvelous form and Ashwin a pretty good spinner too..

  • POSTED BY Sir.Ivor on | June 21, 2013, 4:39 GMT

    Wonderful reading Nagraj. It is true that the Indian fast bowling trio are beginning to benefit from Joe Dawes the coach. I suppose it is easier to understand the Australian accent and way by being together for some time. I am sure this lot will do creditably in the final. As always, it is the length and line that needs to be practised all the time. If they can do that consistently, they can be a handful on any kind of wicjet because they complement each other.I believe that with Indian fast bowlers becoming noticeable by their performance, more and more youngsters will opt for this trade. It is tough and requires more of running than going to the Gym. I wish they would take a page from the books of the West Indian mean men of the 80s and 90s. The big Bird, Joel garner used to run for two hours a day and then bowl two hours in the morning and the evening. In such a situation it is unlikely that he would go terribly away from his intended length and line. This combination could be good.

  • POSTED BY Neelima1184 on | June 21, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    @Rahul Gokhale - What short memories we indians have. Umesh was the darling just in the last series, and now suddenly he is talentless? and Aaron bowls line and length? Have you ever seen Aaron bowl, he sprays it all over the place, when he is fit enough to bowl that is. He is fit enough to bowl only 1 month in a year. Praveen is OK, but Bhuvi is better for the swing bowling option, and zak is finished. Ishant has performed very consistently the whole series, instead of acknowledging his performance, you want to live in fantasy world as if there are any better bowlers on the bench.

  • POSTED BY GRVJPR on | June 21, 2013, 4:21 GMT

    @ Ashok Varkey so what if bhuvi operated at 126-130 kph mark. The important thing is to take wickets at crucial time and that is what he did. Its like saying kumble didn't spun the ball, but he eneded up close to 600 test wickets.

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | June 21, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    Now I wonder what all those guys who said Indias bowling is weak have to say. Is there a better balanced attack in world cricket than India at the moment? It has Swing(bhuvi), Pace(Umaesh), Bounce(ishant) and Spin(Jadeja-left arm and Ashwin-right arm). And we are not even talking about the likes of Zak and bhajji(both world class bowlers). There is so much hype by the so-called experts about the SA pace attach and the Aussie pace attack. But the aussies can't even put 3 fit pace bowlers on the park, and the SA attack minus Steyn is pedestrian. India has all bases covered in batting(best in the world in ODIs) bowling, and even fielding. This team has the potential to be among the best ODI teams of all time. Good luck for the final!

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | June 21, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    If we add the likes of Shami Ahmed and Mohit Sharma to the mix, we can have a battery of medium pacers, with enough bench strength. Shami has the ability to move the ball either way at good speed (135+), and Mohit Sharma can bowl accurate line and length all day long. We also have the likes of Ishwar Pandey, Sandeep Sharma and Sid Kaul waiting in the wings.

  • POSTED BY US_Indian on | June 21, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    good to see, let us hope they do not get carried away and keep up the same intensity and ferocity against England. then as they say rest will be history.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    Nagraj I love your writing but can we tone down the hossanas till these guys deliver on a consistent basis say over a year atleast before you compare them as a pack etc. hyperboles???

  • POSTED BY Viv-Viru on | June 21, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    Great piece. Good to see the confidence in India fast bowlers. Added to the batting, fielding, captaincy and spin bowling strengths of India it becomes a dominating combination.

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    "Really" Mr Nagraj Please dont get carried away by your own hyperbole, throughout the match Bhuvaneshwar operated at 126-130 km/ hour and Yadav in this match actually cut down on pace and pitched the ball further up to get swing he rarely touched even 140km/hour,Ishant again bowled short although on a better line but maybe it was a good line to the Srilankans who are not fond of short pitched bowling....

  • POSTED BY sams235 on | June 20, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    The bowlers have been fantastic today. However, the performance of the team in the finals would tell if this euphoria is short-lived or the bowlers are really giving their best. I suggest we hold our horses before getting carried away.

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    Ishant quite frankly needs to go and so does Yadav. The conditions were a bowlers paradise and anyone would do well so its important not to get carried away. Ishant and Yadav both are poor bowlers who after spending so much time have not been able to maintain a line and length. Bowling intelligently, well less said the better... Some might argue they are new but just look at Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who's not only consistent but bowls intelligently keeping the match situation and conditions in mind. Hes a KID in International cricket! the experience argument for Ishant n Yadav is a eye wash, they just are not talented. Sooner we acknowledge it, the better. Aaron bowls quick and maintains a great line n length, praveen kumar is a fabulously intelligent bowler, an aged Zak is better than these two, why are we ignoring these n other bowlers?

  • POSTED BY Jay.Raj on | June 20, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    "If you are bowling in good areas then no batsman can threaten you." : A guy who has 5.6 economy rate in ODI and 8.2 in T20 is saying that.

  • POSTED BY daincredblehulk on | June 20, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    England? Really? What happened to Pakistan and Australia in the last 3 decades, and as recently as South Africa. England has never done that, sorry never hunted as a pack. It's just been that Anderson has brought some consistency to his game, lifting the bowling unit, but i dont think they ever 'Hunt as a pack'. and certainly India can never hunt as a pack of fast bowlers :)

    Axe

  • POSTED BY daincredblehulk on | June 20, 2013, 22:06 GMT

    England? Really? What happened to Pakistan and Australia in the last 3 decades, and as recently as South Africa. England has never done that, sorry never hunted as a pack. It's just been that Anderson has brought some consistency to his game, lifting the bowling unit, but i dont think they ever 'Hunt as a pack'. and certainly India can never hunt as a pack of fast bowlers :)

    Axe

  • POSTED BY Jay.Raj on | June 20, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    "If you are bowling in good areas then no batsman can threaten you." : A guy who has 5.6 economy rate in ODI and 8.2 in T20 is saying that.

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2013, 22:37 GMT

    Ishant quite frankly needs to go and so does Yadav. The conditions were a bowlers paradise and anyone would do well so its important not to get carried away. Ishant and Yadav both are poor bowlers who after spending so much time have not been able to maintain a line and length. Bowling intelligently, well less said the better... Some might argue they are new but just look at Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who's not only consistent but bowls intelligently keeping the match situation and conditions in mind. Hes a KID in International cricket! the experience argument for Ishant n Yadav is a eye wash, they just are not talented. Sooner we acknowledge it, the better. Aaron bowls quick and maintains a great line n length, praveen kumar is a fabulously intelligent bowler, an aged Zak is better than these two, why are we ignoring these n other bowlers?

  • POSTED BY sams235 on | June 20, 2013, 22:47 GMT

    The bowlers have been fantastic today. However, the performance of the team in the finals would tell if this euphoria is short-lived or the bowlers are really giving their best. I suggest we hold our horses before getting carried away.

  • POSTED BY on | June 20, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    "Really" Mr Nagraj Please dont get carried away by your own hyperbole, throughout the match Bhuvaneshwar operated at 126-130 km/ hour and Yadav in this match actually cut down on pace and pitched the ball further up to get swing he rarely touched even 140km/hour,Ishant again bowled short although on a better line but maybe it was a good line to the Srilankans who are not fond of short pitched bowling....

  • POSTED BY Viv-Viru on | June 21, 2013, 0:08 GMT

    Great piece. Good to see the confidence in India fast bowlers. Added to the batting, fielding, captaincy and spin bowling strengths of India it becomes a dominating combination.

  • POSTED BY on | June 21, 2013, 0:54 GMT

    Nagraj I love your writing but can we tone down the hossanas till these guys deliver on a consistent basis say over a year atleast before you compare them as a pack etc. hyperboles???

  • POSTED BY US_Indian on | June 21, 2013, 1:20 GMT

    good to see, let us hope they do not get carried away and keep up the same intensity and ferocity against England. then as they say rest will be history.

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | June 21, 2013, 2:45 GMT

    If we add the likes of Shami Ahmed and Mohit Sharma to the mix, we can have a battery of medium pacers, with enough bench strength. Shami has the ability to move the ball either way at good speed (135+), and Mohit Sharma can bowl accurate line and length all day long. We also have the likes of Ishwar Pandey, Sandeep Sharma and Sid Kaul waiting in the wings.

  • POSTED BY sandy_bangalore on | June 21, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    Now I wonder what all those guys who said Indias bowling is weak have to say. Is there a better balanced attack in world cricket than India at the moment? It has Swing(bhuvi), Pace(Umaesh), Bounce(ishant) and Spin(Jadeja-left arm and Ashwin-right arm). And we are not even talking about the likes of Zak and bhajji(both world class bowlers). There is so much hype by the so-called experts about the SA pace attach and the Aussie pace attack. But the aussies can't even put 3 fit pace bowlers on the park, and the SA attack minus Steyn is pedestrian. India has all bases covered in batting(best in the world in ODIs) bowling, and even fielding. This team has the potential to be among the best ODI teams of all time. Good luck for the final!