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India's bowling coach B Arun has conceded his team's bowlers need to be more disciplined, and that a lot of work needs to be done on them. India are yet to take 20 wickets in this Test series, Arun's first as India's bowling coach. Day one of the SCG Test, with an injured Ishant Sharma missing, was possibly India's worst show in the field yet. Australia plundered 348 for the loss of two wickets on a flat pitch.
"It's been a mixed bag, and we have to be a lot more disciplined than what we are," he said. "But there have been occasions where we have shown discipline. I think the consistency is going to be the key."
Arun was asked what went wrong with India's bowlers so often, for nobody wants to bowl poorly. He said: "There is a lot of work that needs to be done on that. Obviously we are working on that for them to be more consistent and disciplined. Every kind of wicket that you bowl on is different. You have got to adjust to the wicket before you do that, and that's exactly what we are working on."
What kind of work is being done Arun wouldn't say. "It's very difficult for me to elaborate on the kind of process that we set to work on these guys. Yes, it's an issue, and yes we need to be more consistent, we are aware of that."
Arun said the fitness of India's bowlers vis-à-vis other attacks was not an issue. "Obviously the fittest team is playing here so it's not a question of fitness," he said. "I don't think it is fatigue either. Yes, it's a big mental thing to be successful in international cricket, and that comes with experience."
According to Arun, it all came down to consistency. "We are a young side, we are in the process of rebuilding and learning," he said. "We have performed very well so far, we have been competitive. If you notice, the first two matches could have gone either way. There are a lot of lessons to be learnt. The fact is that we are not as consistent as we need to be. That's a fact, and that's something we really need to look hard and work on. That's exactly what we have been doing. I think this is going to be a great learning experience for us to move forward."
Ishant has been India's best bowler in this series, but he doesn't have the wickets to show for it, with nine dismissals. Is it because he is forced to bowl restrictively as the other bowlers have not been consistent? "If you look at the trend in this series, it's been hard work to fetch wickets," Arun said. "It's the case for bowlers from both sides. One who is willing to work hard in terms of line and consistency has been successful. Ishant has had a fair amount of success, and by far he was the most consistent Indian bowler on this tour so far."
When told of Ishant's average of 48.22 in the series, Arun paused for a moment and said: "You can only work, you can never guarantee success."
Arun confirmed that Ishant sat out with pain in the left knee, and that Cheteshwar Pujara was dropped. "Pujara has been exceptional for us earlier, but all the decisions and the composition of the team is decided by the team management," he said. "People who are benched are spoken to, and they will be given sufficient opportunities to come back too. We are in the process of rebuilding, and we have to try out a lot of people, and see how far it goes. Then we have got to work out the combination."