Veteran Indian pacer Irfan Pathan says the country’s rise as a fast-bowling powerhouse is, for him, the highlight of the year while former batsman VVS Laxman picked the away Test triumph over Australia as his “favourite moment” of 2019.
The trio of Umesh Yadav (23), Ishant Sharma (25) and Mohammed Shami (33) picked 81 wickets in Tests this year, averaging less than 20.
The only other time when three pacers of the same team averaged less than 20 for over 20 wickets in a calendar year was 1978 with Ian Botham, Chris Old and Bob Willis claiming the honours for their side.
“This year we saw India’s fast bowlers bowl beautifully for the country and it’s been one of the best fast bowling line-ups that we have seen. We saw the intent with which they bowled, they came in, bowled hard-swinging deliveries, new or old ball it didn’t matter,” Pathan told Star Sports Network.
“I have really seen the growth of Indian cricket especially in terms of fast bowling which has been the highlight for me this year,” he added.
Their combined average of 15.16 is the best for any team’s pace bowlers in a calendar year (with minimum 50 wickets).
Laxman, on the other hand, felt India beating Australia in their own backyard took the cake.
India beat Australia 2-1 in the four-match series, which began in December 2018 but ended in January 2019.
“It’s been a very good year for Indian cricket but being a Test cricketer, my dream always was to beat Australia in Australia but I was not able to achieve that in my career” he said.
“I’m so glad that this Indian team under Virat’s (Kohli) leadership has beaten Australia for the first time in their own backyard which is my favourite moment of Indian cricket in 2019,” he added.