Over the decades, bowlers have had become lead characters of cricket’s compelling narrative.
They’re fearsome and dreadful, they’re poised, they’re gripping, and they’re predominantly bossing the game. And above all, they’re a treasure trove of memories. And among a happy hunting pack rose Jasprit Bumrah, who has a bag full of tricks.
Bowlers need a big heart to defy career-ending injuries.
Speedster Shoaib Akhtar, who went under the knife on numerous occasions during his career, was thrilled by speed.
“It gets your blood going, the adrenaline is pumping, and you’re in a fight. To me, that’s what Test cricket is all about,” he said.
Akhtar believed abnormality among the fast bowlers is a blessing in disguise. It becomes surreal and adds to the gratification.
Young pace bowling sensation Bumrah, himself blessed with a few unusual traits, is excelling. He is the man of the moment in the cricketing world who has ticked all boxes in style and without any fuss.
(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
He earned his spot in India’s 2016 World T20 squad after being highest the wicket-taker in a Twenty20 series in Australia, which India won 3-0. His ability to hit the blockhole judiciously and his unique release point soon became hot topics and eventually a centre of attention in cricketing circles.
Bumrah’s grammar of bowling and natural athleticism sets him apart from other world-class bowlers. He might not be as fast as Brett Lee or as wild as Akhtar, but his much-discussed action has had accentuated his stature.
Bumrah holds the key for India ahead of the long-awaited 2019 World Cup. In England, he could be as threatening as he has been on his debut stint in Australia. And there in the United Kingdom, conditions would suit his style of bowling.
Pragmatic in his approach, the thinking bowler in Bumrah knows what it takes to rattle high-calibre batsmen. Following his first-year success in Tests, Bumrah had plenty of reasons to attribute his success to the first-class circuit after he emerged as a classical bowler when he shot into the limelight during Indian Premier League for Mumbai Indians.
Bumrah has learnt a lot while bowling in scorching heat. He might not have those big strides in his run-up, but being nimble has had increased his pace and offered rich dividends.
The wily bowler did his research before the Australia Test series, and it was visible with his excellent slower ball to Shaun Marsh in Melbourne. The same can be said about his inswinger to Keaton Jennings in Southampton.
Bumrah did have obstacles to overcome. A critical no-ball in the 2017 Champions Trophy final gave Pakistani batsman Fakhar Zaman a reprieve, and led to Jaipur police warning drivers using a billboard with his front-foot image.
Bumrah’s infamous no-ball helped Pakistan claim the 2017 Champions Trophy. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
It’s part and parcel of playing cricket. Bumrah has moved on, so as, Team India.
Imagine yourself as India’s skipper. Now, throw a ball to him and he won’t be fretting, regardless of the conditions.
Bumrah’s unerring yorkers and lovely slower ones add to his repertoire. He might have been disorganised in his early life, but the discipline with the ball has made him stand out; there is a production line of bowlers in India too.
During his maiden Test stint on South African soil, Bumrah topped the chart for inducing false shots. He sent down 27.55 per cent of deliveries which batsmen found tough to tackle.
And in England, with a minimum of 400 balls bowled, Bumrah followed only Mohammed Shami (28.53) with 27.08 per cent of deliveries leaving batsmen in all sorts of trouble.
Again in Australia, Bumrah has dominated, with 24.96 per cent creating uncertainty among batsmen.
It might have taken him almost two years from his ODI debut to break into the Test squad, but Bumrah has so far bagged 48 wickets in nine Tests at the incredible average of 21.02. In 44 ODIs, he’s claimed 78 scalps at 21.01, and in 40 Twenty20 internationals, Bumrah has clinched 48 at 20.47.
Bumrah, who wears a beatific smile without an iota of doubt, is the heartbeat to cricket. Indian skipper Virat Kohli has been singing Bumrah’s praises for his work ethic and rigorous fitness. He is a bit different, but a real natural, and his success should be relished by all cricket fans.