The kind of pitches and weather conditions we have seen in England so far, Jasprit Bumrah will be India's most lethal weapon in the ICC World Cup 2019, ahead of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and MS Dhoni. With his super cool temperament, confidence, a wide range of deliveries and unmatched 'death overs' skills, Bumrah will be India's saviour, more often than not
It was in 2013 when Jasprit Bumrah became a household name in India for the first time. On April 4, 2013, Bumrah, the skinny young boy from Ahmedabad, dismissed Virat Kohli in an Indian Premier League (IPL) game at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore and announced his arrival in a grand way.
The whole nation was talking about him and his unorthodox action. Soon, the fans found a great player to compare him with and in Bumrah's case, it was his mentor and senior in the Mumbai Indians (MI) camp — Lasith Malinga. His unorthodox action and good yorkers became the base of comparison and social media was flooded with memes, videos, and articles.
Bumrah played only two matches in 2013 but considering his impressive show, he was bought again by the Mumbai Indians in 2014 for a massive Rs 1.2 crore and since then there has been no looking back for him.
However, as always, there were a few doubts here and there regarding his longevity and many fans and pundits were worried that his unorthodox action will soon be figured out and then he will not be as effective. But, six years later, he is not just 'booming' but ruling the cricketing world with the ball. In the latest ICC rankings, Bumrah is the number one ODI bowler in the world.
From one-dimensional to multi-dimensional
Bumrah has risen through the ranks at an unbelievable pace and become the leader of India's bowling attack, across all formats of the game. He has been able to stay one step ahead of the challenges and add more dimensions and variety to his bowling. From a T20 specialist, he became a good ODI bowler. From a good ODI bowler, he became the best ODI bowler. From the best bowler in limited-overs cricket, he is now among one of the best fast bowlers in Test cricket, too. Bumrah has been able to add so many deliveries and dimensions to his game in a very short period of time, and that too without changing his unorthodox action.
Initially, Bumrah's distinctive and inimitable bowling action became the stepping stone for his success. But, he soon learned the art of bowling toe-crushing yorkers from Malinga and within three years, he added slower deliveries, especially the off-cutter, bouncer, in-swinger, out-swinger, and slider, and transformed himself from a T20 specialist to a complete fast bowler.
When West Indies’ legend Michael Holding was asked whether India should pick Bumrah for the Test tour of England, after his good performance in South Africa, Holding wasn't convinced.
“When he hits the deck hard, and the ball is keeping up and down, at his pace the batsmen do not have time to react. In England, pitches are drastically different from South Africa. I wouldn’t play Bumrah because he bangs the ball in. There you need someone to bowl so that the ball kisses the surface and moves around,” said Michael Holding in Johannesburg, after Bumrah picked his maiden five-wicket haul (5/54) in Test cricket.
But, Bumrah proved even the great Holding wrong. In his first Test in England at Nottingham, Bumrah broke the back of England's batting line-up and took five wickets for 85 runs and helped India comeback in the series 2-1. It was a great spell of bowling as Bumrah swung the ball both ways at a good pace and outdid English batters with the one that held its line.
It was a dream run for Bumrah as he picked 28 wickets in his first six Tests in South Africa and England. And, he didn't stop there. In Australia, Bumrah took 21 wickets in the four-Test series and ended as the joint-leading wicket-taker alongside Australian off-spinner Nathan Lyon.
ICC World Cup 2019
In the ongoing ICC World Cup 2019, many cricket pundits from across the world, have picked Bumrah as their pick for the 'best bowler of the tournament'. Bumrah's huge presence in the build-up and debates before the World Cup 2019 is an achievement for Indian cricket because it's mostly batsmen who take all the limelight and become the centre of discussions for India in big tournaments. But, this year, despite the presence of batting stars like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and MS Dhoni, a lot of importance has been given to Bumrah and the threat he possesses.
In World Cup 2019, Bumrah will play multiple roles for India. He will be given the responsibility of taking early wickets with the new ball because he is India's best new ball bowler. He will have to come in the middle overs to break partnerships if needed. And he will have to absorb all the pressure and do the job in the death overs because he is, arguably, the best death overs specialist in the world. He will have to do all of this in every match for India and with very little margin for error.
Isn't this too much ask from a 25-year old youngster playing his first ICC World Cup?
Maybe, but Bumrah, as always, is prepared for the challenge and all set to take the field. He will take wickets with the new ball. He will break partnerships. He will do the job for India in the death overs. And, if needed, if any of his teammates need support, he will wrap his arms around their shoulder and crack a joke and make them feel better. He will do all that he can, in fact, even more.
The kind of pitches and weather conditions we have seen in England so far, Bumrah will be India's most lethal weapon in the ICC World Cup 2019, ahead of Kohli, Rohit, and Dhoni. With his super cool temperament, confidence, a wide range of deliveries and unmatched 'death overs' skills, Bumrah will be India's saviour, more often than not.
So, if you are an Indian cricket fan and waiting for India's first match of the tournament, keep calm and trust Bumrah.
Last Updated 8:19 PM IST