Indian pace attack have taken the centre stage in world cricket since their stellar performance at home against South Africa and Bangladesh. Not only did they outperform the South African counterparts in the series, they also finished the home season with almost double the number of wickets than spinners. They even left the spin duo of R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja wicketless in Kolkata (against Bangladesh) -- the first time on home soil. Cricket fraternity have since been curious over the Indian pace attack and then camaraderie. And Indian skipper Virat Kohli reveals the reason behind the rise in their dominance and their biggest strength as a unit.
A healthy competition, no disagreements and zero jealousy have been the key ingredients behind their success as a unit, says Kohli in an interview with India Today.
"Healthy competition (between pacers) but the trust they have within each other, I have never seen them have an argument (serious one). Never have any disagreements. No jealousy, zero and that is their biggest strength," he told the news channel. "They don't care whether a Shami is at seven now (ICC rankings) or Jassi is at whatever ranking or Ishant's not. Ishant is happy."
"Ishant has played ninety Tests, he understands that he is a very important part of team India, of inspiring the next lot of fast bowlers. That to him is more special than a ranking in you know 10 players in the world," Kohli said.
The combination of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah has bagged 95 wickets in 2019 at 15.16 an average and a strike rate of around 30 -- the best calendar-year performance by an Indian pace attack while their average and strike rate are the best-ever by any pace attack in a calendar year.
Moreover, the figures were achieved in the absence of Bumrah, who played just one series this year. Following the Windies tour, Bumrah was sidelined from the home campaign if ICC World Test Championship with a stress fracture. Ishant, Umesh and Shami bagged 59 wickets in five Tests while the spinners managed only 33.
Praising the pace attack, Kohli said that they hunt in packs and are relentless throughout the two innings of a Test match, which Indian teams in the past have missed.
"If you ask me, honestly no offense to anyone, but apart from Zak (Zaheer Khan) I think, in the previous decade or the team that we had, because Ishant was young as well, he wasn't this experienced, the Ishant Sharma that we have now, so you can't really count him in as the part of that attack that could have been formed because Zak was the only established sort of guy that you could rely on.
"I am sure even Zak would sit down and watch now and he would have loved to bowl with these guys because I see Ishant taking the new ball, Umesh coming back like that and then Shami..I mean everyone...not just us standing in slips but even the batsman are waiting ki Iska spell kab chalu hoga aur kab khatm hoga. You know that's the way he is bowling right now he can make things happen on any pitch at the moment," Kohli was quoted by the news channel.