Srinagar: Former India bowling coach Bharat Arun has revealed the one bowler about whom batting superstar Virat Kohli felt uncomfortable batting against.
Bharat Arun in a conversation with Cricbuzz on the first episode of ‘Rise of New India’, recalled Jasprit Bumrah’s face off with Kohli in the nets in South Africa ahead of the start of the 2018 Test series.
But by the time Bumrah had arrived in the nets in Cape Town with eye to make a debut for India in the red-ball format, the then 24-year-old was already a white-ball maverick.
Arun recalled that India had arrived 10 days prior to the start of the series and had a centre-wicket practice session where Kohli was up against Bumrah. He said that Kohli was so impressed with the fast bowler that he went straight to Ravi Shastri, the then India head coach, and admitted that he was the toughest of the bowlers to face because he couldn’t really pick his release point.
“We went about 10 days early to South Africa. We had a centre-wicket practice. And Virat was so impressed with Bumrah. I still vividly remember Virat, after playing him, came to Ravi and said, ‘Ravi bhai, sabse mushkil hai isko khelna. Mujhe pata nahi lag raha hai kab woh release kar raha hai (Ravi, he was the toughest bowler to face. I couldn’t figure out when he is releasing the ball)…and I pick him a fraction later than the other bowlers,” Arun said.
“Then we took a closer look and said that the first Test we can definitely go with Bumrah because he was quick. I also remember him telling me that the wickets were nice and juicy. He said, ‘Sir, I am not going all out because it is not fair. These wickets are too helpful. I am not going all out because they are our batters’. This to me was really, really impressive. Everyone who played him were impressed with Bumrah in that practice session. Hence, it was a no-brainer to play Bumrah instantly in the first Test,” he said.