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When Rahul Dravid retired from international cricket, we got caught up in finding out who would fill up his ‘big boots’, as they say. I wrote at the time, that instead of finding a suitable replacement at the No 3 position, if India found three world-class bowlers instead, they would win more matches.
Great batting does not win you as many matches as great bowling does; a fact borne out by looking at records of Pakistan in the 90s, when they had a great bowling attack, against the records of India when they had a great batting line-up post 2000.
I am wondering if that is starting to happen now, what with India having won some crucial games by virtue of good bowling, more than good batting. For instance, the last match against Sri Lanka to get through to the final. The chasing team had all the cards in their favour, but it was Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling that won India that game and an entry into the final.
India are on a winning roll at the moment but they know that the real test will come when they tour South Africa in November. And we may be actually veering in that direction of having three world-class bowlers in our side; this seemed impossible eight months back.
I may be getting a bit ahead of myself here, but with the emergence of Bhuvneshwar, who I thought was a more important find for Indian cricket than a Pujara or a Shikhar, in the long recent home season, fills me with hope.
Add to that a Umesh Yadav, who can get you wickets in a rush, and some decent seamers coming through the domestic ranks, plus Jadeja’s growth as a left-arm spinner, where he is almost at par with Ashwin as a pure spinner, India might have a better quality Test bowling attack than the last time they were in South Africa.
The writer is a former India batsman