Bharat Arun recalls Shastri’s ‘driving licence’ advice before IND’s 2nd SA Test | Cricket

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The fast bowlers were subject to more criticism than the batting unit after India lost by an innings and 32 runs in the opening game of the two-match series last week in Centurion against South Africa. While few would still have their hopes up for the Cape Town encounter that begins on Wednesday, former India bowling coach Bharat Arun was quick to recall India’s sensational comeback from the infamous 36-all out to a series win in Australia in the 2020/21 tour, as he hailed Jasprit Bumrah’s return to red-ball cricket in SuperSport Park. Although Arun rued the absence of support from fellow fast bowlers, he reiterated ex-India head coach Ravi Shastri’s words from the Cape Town game in the 2018 tour as advice for the pace unit ahead of the series-saving game in Newlands.

Former India bowling coach Bharat Arun has his say on India's performance on the 1st South Africa Test
Former India bowling coach Bharat Arun has his say on India’s performance on the 1st South Africa Test

Speaking to RevSportz, two days before the big game in Cape Town, Arun was full of praise for Kagiso Rabada, who had picked up a five-wicket haul in the Centurion game and urged the Indian counterparts to pick a leaf out of his book and target that 4-6 metre mark. The 61-year-old added that only Bumrah’s performance impressed him in the first Test from the Indian unit.

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“If you really look at the discipline that the South Africans showed, if you look at the pitch map of Rabada in the first innings, it was impeccable. Yes, the four-to-six-metre marks are the best, because that gives you a chance for the ball to move as well, or even seam off the wicket. You’re bowling that much quicker because of the trajectory. So not only that, if you look at the line which Rabada bowled, I thought that was exceptional. And the only comparison I can say is I was pretty impressed with Bumrah’s bowling,” he said.

As Arun explained where the remainder of the fast bowlers – Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and debutant Prasidh Krishna – erred, he recalled Shastri’s advice from the 2018 Test match in Cape Town after the first innings. India had conceded 286 in the first innings but gave away only 130 runs in the second innings where the pacers picked all 10 wickets, albeit in a losing cause.

“The rest of them, if you look at their lines, there was much to be desired. Far too much width and also, on certain occasions, far too short. So that that doesn’t suit, you know, when you’re bowling in South Africa. Like I remember the conversation Ravi Shastri had after the Cape Town Test first innings – he said I want you guys to leave the driving licence at home. Unless you have something specific, attack them all the time. So, that was the key. That’s when the entire bowling revolution started. So I think discipline is of most importance,” he said.

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