Former West Indies fast bowler Ian Bishop has admitted that he did see a “great deal of promise” in the current Indian pace unit, but didn’t foresee them performing how they have been in recent times.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Bishop said that 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.
“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,” the 52-year-old said.
“Now it’s been built on with a captain who likes fast bowlers, who believes 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 (Mohammad) Shami has taken his game to another level. Ishant (Sharma) has also gone up another level,” he added.
Bishop, who played 43 Tests for the West Indies, further 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.
India pacers took 33 of the 40 wickets that fell during India’s 2-0 whitewash of the West Indies in their own backyard.
“I couldn’t have predicted that India’s fast bowlers would come to the Caribbean, for example, and do to us what we did to them so many decades ago! So credit to Bharat 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.
The cricketer-turned-commentator, however, refused to compare the current Indian pace battery to that of the fearsome West Indians of the past.
“Well, they 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,” Bishop said.
“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?
The trio of Shami, Ishant and Umesh recently helped India whitewash South Africa and Bangladesh, overshadowing spinners at home and maintain their supremacy at the top of the team rankings.