Arshdeep and Avesh have what it takes to be the future of India’s fast bowling

Arshdeep Singh (left) and Avesh Khan could be the future of Indian fast bowling in white ball cricket. (Image: X)

Not often does one see two Indian fast bowlers go flat out against South Africa in white-ball cricket. On Sunday, Arshdeep Singh and Avesh Khan gave it ‘left and right’ to the Proteas in the first ODI in Johannesburg.

It’s always a delight to see fast bowlers attack in a pair. Conditions were helpful for them, especially in the first innings. Left-armer Arshdeep and right-armer Avesh fired on all cylinders. To share nine wickets was a delight for the speedsters as well as those watching the match live and on television.

First things first. There is no fear factor these days among Indian cricketers when they get chances. Both these bowlers know they are not first choice. Possibly, they are viewed more as T20 specialists.

ODI cricket is different from T20s, just that the colour of the ball is the same. There has never been any doubt about the ability of Arshdeep. He has been the typical Sardar, who bowls his heart out. He is good in the opening spell as well as at handling pressure in the death overs.

Arshdeep has the ability to move the ball away from the right-hander and bring it in. He is a bowler who does not rely on pace, but skills. There have been instances when he went for runs in the closing stages. But then, fast bowlers will get the stick from time to time and still come back and try to win another match for the team.

Sunday was a day when the conditions had to be mastered and these two Indians did that with aplomb. Will Arshdeep find a permanent place in the white-ball squads is a point of debate. All those who have watched Indian cricket are aware, as long as Jasprit Bumrah is around, nobody is guaranteed a spot in the fast-bowling unit of the XI.

To get a break again and capitalise on it, Arshdeep has done well. The general feeling is he will get better, though the biggest challenge will be to bowl with penetration when the conditions are not helpful, especially at home.

Avesh has always been described as a bowler with more potential and fire in the belly. There was never a dearth of pace, since his early days in junior cricket, and also in the Indian Premier League.

The key, for Avesh, is how he has shaped up by developing a skill set. Raw pace no longer rattles batters in any form of international cricket. There was hype over Umran Malik, because of his pace. But then, the bowler who represents Jammu and Kashmir, was not accurate. In his enthusiasm to go flat out, he got whacked.

Avesh is 27 and not exactly a youngster. Those who have seen him bowl in the IPL know he can be devastating. He has worked on adding variety. The bouncer and yorker are aspects Avesh seems to have developed.

They say, one swallow does not make a summer. Are Arshdeep and Avesh going to be the future? Time will tell. They will have to keep proving themselves. These two brought out their A game on Sunday. Sustaining it will be the key. They need to be backed because breaking the heart of a fast bowler is so unkind.

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