‘Batters win you matches, but it is the bowlers who win you a tournament’. India are yet to make it through to the final, let alone win the 2023 World Cup, but their outright dominance in the home event, where they remain the only unbeaten side so far, winning all eight of their league games, has been down to their bowling attack, which has been deemed among the best ever in the tournament history. Former India coach Ravi Shastri concurred with the thought as well, but credited the “outstanding captaincy” of Rohit Sharma behind the stellar show from the bowlers. (India vs Netherlands Live Score, Cricket World Cup 2023)
India have picked 75 wickets in eight matches in this World Cup, the second-most so far, six behind top-placed South Africa who have played a match more. In all their last three matches, they bundled their opponents while defending a total – South Africa for 83 runs, Sri Lanka for 55 runs and England for 129 runs. They also picked up all 10 wickets in their match against semifinal-bound Australia and New Zealand.
However, more than the numbers, Shastri, in conversation with Adam Gilchrist and Michael Vaughan on Club Prairie Fire show, admitted that the variety and their ability to adapt to any conditions within a snap of a finger are the reasons behind the dominance of this Indian attack. He further hailed it as the best bowling line-up he has come across in the last 50 years.
“It is the best attack that I have seen in 50 years, ever since white-ball cricket started. And its all because of the variety. You have Bumrah who is a freak, then you have Shami who is a master when it comes to seam position and then Siraj, who is feisty, can get under your skin and is a slippery character. You also have Jadeja, who is at the peak of his prowess and Kuldeep, who has improved leaps and bounds. So when you look at that attack, it has every box ticked for every condition. They have the skillset and experience to adapt to every conditions and that is where they have improved since the last World Cup,” he said.
When further questioned by Gilchrist on who controls this bowling attack, Shastri explained that while it is a combination of the experience of the bowlers and the Rohit’s captaincy, he credited the latter more. He established his point by explaining how Rohit tends to rotate his bowlers, not allowing any batter to settle down or plan in taking on a particular bowler.
“I think it is a combination of both. These guys have the experience but Rohit will take no nonsense. If they try to be flashy, Rohit will be at their ears straightaway. So you know where all the discipline comes from. He has marshalled his resources extremely well. He has been an outstanding captain in this World Cup. The way he never allows two spinners to bowl in tandem at once. There is always a mix of spin and pace for a short spell so that the batter doesn’t settle down or plan or target a certain bowler. He has been extremely proactive. He is not someone who is instinctive or excitable but he is someone who has a Plan A, B and C in his pockets and is calm throughout his approach,” he said.