Former West Indies speedster Ian Bishop says the foundation of India’s “another level” fast bowling unit was laid by the likes of legendary Kapil Dev and built on by current captain Virat Kohli who believes in the attack.
He said Kohli’s passion to put together a strong fast-bowling unit has made it easier to build on the foundation that Kapil had laid.
“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.
Bishop, who is a well-known erudite TV pundit, also credit Kohli’s passion for building a pace bowling unit that could help India win matches outside the subcontinent.
“Now it’s been built on with a captain who likes fast bowlers, who believe 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 (Mohd.) Shami has taken his game to another level. Ishant (Sharma) has also gone up another level,” he added.
The 52-year-old, 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. He, however, refused to compare the Indian unit to the fearsome West Indians of the past.
“Well, they (Indians) 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.
Talking about the upcoming West Indies tour of India, Bishop said that beating India in India could be a difficult prospect for a young Windies side.
“Well, you always have a chance of winning. (But) How many people come to India and beat India? It’s a cauldron. My expectation and hope are for them (West Indies) to win – but if they don’t, I’m not going to be put off. “This is what I want people in the Caribbean particularly to understand: India is a dominant force in the world game. West Indies can’t go from winning one World Cup game to beating a team that got to the semi-finals of that World Cup with assurance.
“The fans will want to see victory, but what I’m saying is, maybe this Indian tour is a bridge too soon. If it doesn’t happen, all is not lost.” He said West Indies’ limited-overs tour of India will serve as good preparation for the next year’s T20 World Cup.