Jasprit Bumrah -the scantily built pacer from Gujrat amazed everyone with his weird bowling action and his ability to bowl yorkers at a will when he debuted for Mumbai Indians way back in 2013. Come to think of it- seven years back, none had a clue what might this fast bowler with a very unusual action do in the game.
The point today is- can we imagine an India eleven in his absence?
Jasprit Bumrah had a dream debut for Mumbai Indians. Virat Kohli was his first-ever IPL victim and along with that, he picked up wickets of Mayank Agrawal and Karun Nair.
India always lacked a quality death bowler, especially in the post-Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra period. Bumrah’s quick arm and slingy bowling action, and an inborn ability to deliver a variety of slower balls in limited-overs cricket grabbed eyeballs in the fraternity. Bumrah traveled with the Indian team to Australia in 2016 as an injury-replacement for Mohammad Shami.
From there on he never looked back. He performed exceedingly well for team India in limited-overs cricket and became a vital cog in Indian bowling lineup. In 2016 and 2017 he became a regular member of India’s limited-overs side. During that period he also became a key bowler for Mumbai Indians ahead of Lasith Malinga.
No one ever doubted his ability to perform consistently in limited-overs cricket. But, with the kind of bowling action Bumrah had many cricket pundits across the world questioned his place in the Indian test team. Whether his body will sustain the workload of Test cricket? whether he will be able to deliver long and quality bowling spells in a five-day format? many such questions were raised.
But, Bumrah had all the answers. He made his Test debut in India’s tour of South Africa in 2018. In the first Test match of the series at Capetown, he had a decent outing as he picked up a total of 4 wickets in a losing cause. He grabbed his first five-wicket hall in the third test match of the series which India won by 63 runs. He ripped through the gates of AB de Villiers and made him his first Test victim.
He picked up a vital 5 wicket hall in the Third Test match against England in 2018. on a Trent Bridge wicket which was tailor-made for pace bowlers, Bumrah swung the ball both ways and made life difficult for the batters. With this stellar performance, he showed the world that he belonged to this level.
His big breakthrough performance came when India toured Australia in 2018-19. He bamboozled the Aussies with his short pitch stuff and slower deliveries. The wicket of Shaun Marsh on a slower in-swinging yorker in the first innings of the Third test match remains one of the highlights of that historic series. Fans today want more of him, and can’t ever seem to get enough.
The very thought of seeing cartwheeling stumps with their disturber celebrating fills their cricket-hungry appetite with a sense of gladness.
Can Bumrah continue to build on a career where he’s already picked 68 wickets from 14 Tests, including five fifers from 28 bowling innings?
His ability to bowl consistently around 150km/hr makes him a great asset for team India. On top of that, that he’s a genuine wicket-taker adds to that lethality.
Along-with Shami, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Umesh Yadav make a formidable bowling unit for team India in test cricket.
The only challenge that will remain in front of Kohli will be managing the workload of Jasprit Bumrah.