India head coach Ravi Shastri insisted on getting his support staff, led by bowling coach Bharat Arun. And Arun's contribution ever since has been significant.
From Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian team management has identified a pool of bowlers who would serve Indian cricket for a long time. However, Arun's job is not yet over. The bowling coach's immediate goal now is to prepare a set of back-up bowlers for the upcoming 2019 World Cup.
"Yes, the Sri Lanka T20 Tri-series will give us ample opportunity to test the bench strength of our pace bowling unit. We have two world class operators in Bhuvi and Bumrah but we have also created a good pool. The pacers (Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat) who are going to Sri Lanka will be looking forward to grabbing the opportunity," Arun told PTI.
"Since we have a long season ahead, we have to be ready for any injury or fitness issues. Shardul Thakur has come up nicely and done well in South Africa also. Even Shami and Umesh are very much in contention as they will be playing the Deodhar Trophy (for India A and B respectively)," Arun added.
Unadkat will be the cynosure of all eyes after he was picked by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping 1.8 million. When asked if the Saurashtra bowler could make a smooth transition from T20s to ODIs, Arun said, "Since I am not a selector, I wouldn't comment whether he should be in the ODI scheme of things but as a coach, my job is to believe that each and every bowler at this level possess the quality and temperament to be successful.
"Adaptability is the key and it differs from player to player. If Jaydev can adapt well, then there is no reason why he can't play ODIs for India," the former India pacer said.
Arun had watched Bumrah from close quarters and his rise hasn't surprised the bowling coach.
"We always knew that Jasprit had potential. He is versatile and can cause trouble for any batsman both with new and old ball," said Arun. But what gives the bowling coach even more satisfaction is the fact that finally they have been able to put in place a potent mix of pacers, who can get 20 wickets in a Test match.
"Bhuvi is now bowling close to 140 kmph and can swing the ball both ways. Shami has this ability to produce a devastating spell out of nowhere and Ishant with his height can create disconcerting bounce. Also Ishant is a workhorse," Arun was effusive in his praise.
Asked what was the strategy for the South African batsmen, Arun said that idea was to give them as less as possible deliveries on drivable length. "Ravi told one day: 'Boys all your driving licenses should be kept at home. He said that treat South African conditions as your home conditions. For example, Ishant is from Delhi and when he is playing in Kolkata, it is not exactly his home but he treats it as his home.
"Similarly, Ravi told the boys that think Cape Town or Johannesburg as your home conditions and you will see a change in mindset. And Virat's leadership was exceptional. Any praise is less for him," said Arun.
Michael Holding recently commented that Bumrah's hit-the-deck action may not work in England where ideally the ball should kiss the surface. While agreeing that there is a scope for improvement, he differed with Holding's assertion.
"I don't think that it is fair to judge any bowler without even checking him out in particular conditions. There are areas where we can work but how can one conclude that Bumrah can't be successful in England, when he has not even played a Test there.
"Cricket is also like boxing. If you are going to not get into ring due to fear of getting hurt, then you will never be able to hit. This team doesn't fear losing, they only think about winning."
For him coaching is about providing inputs. "You know the secret of this team's success. The bowlers themselves find a solution. We as a coaching unit, only give inputs but they have to know how to use those inputs. It's a process of self-discovery and they have learnt it," Arun concluded.