Jasprit Bumrah: India’s Smiling Assassin

Running in 10-15 steps away from the case, a jump near the popping crease and release of the ball with an extremely unorthodox action, that’s how India’s new Talisman operates. Not a right-handed batsman or a left-handed batsman, which has often been the case in this country.

Jasprit Bumrah’s rise in the last few years has been spectacular. Breaking on the international scene in early 2016, he took very little time to make an impact. By the time he played a few matches, everyone knew this guy had something going for him, but 3 years later, Bumrah has well and truly exceeded everyone’s expectations and has emerged as the best bowler in the world, not a tag often used for an Indian bowler.

Apart from the excellent skills he possesses, it’s his mindset and maturity beyond his age is what helps him do the job consistently for his team. He is fascinating, the way he goes about his business is a joy to watch and you can pick up a lot of things just by observing his bowling. I tried my hand at picking up a few traits of this exceptional cricketer.

Adaptability

After impressing everyone with how quickly he adapted with the red ball in South Africa and England, it was Australia tour where Bumrah made a major impact.

In Australia last year at Adelaide, he went for 24 runs in his first 5 overs. Not quite finding the right landing spot for the red cherry. A bit too short at times or a bit too full. He bowled a few deliveries on the pads of debuting Marcus Harris and he didn’t miss out.

Bumrah came back in his 2nd spell and quickly adapted to the aiding but slow surface at The Adelaide Oval. His figures for the rest of the innings were – 19 Overs – 9 Maidens – 23 Runs – 3 Wickets.

At MCG in boxing day test, on a relatively flat deck, he kept running in and bowled fast, generated lot more pace, bounce and movement than anyone else. It was one of the best spells of fast bowling in recent times and played an important part in India’s historic triumph.

Backing his strengths

No bowler, or for that instance, no player can be successful at this level if they don’t back their strengths. No different with Bumrah, he has excellent temperament and backs himself and his strength even in pressure situations.

During his franchise MI’s 2nd last league stage match vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Bumrah was bowling to Manish Pandey who was in really good form. SRH needed 29 runs from last 2 overs. In comes Bumrah. His first 4 balls, full and straight at the stumps, something which he is known for. He went for only 3 runs. But next 2 balls, Bumrah bowls 2 full tosses which are deposited for a boundary.

My first instinct was that he could have bowled a slower ball, which would have been a good variation but he backed his strength, trying to bowl yorkers. It made sense since he had bowled a few of them in that over and executed them well. He went for runs on the last 2 balls because he couldn’t quite execute it properly but his thought process was spot on. The same trait of backing his strength has fetched him rewards so many times.

Flexibility

Jasprit Bumrah bowled an exceptional spell in IPL finals to help his team clinch the 4th title | Pic From – @CriczBuzz Twitter

Mumbai Indians vs Chennai Super Kings, IPL finals. Shane Watson was Batting brilliantly & CSK needed 42 in last 4 overs to lift the trophy. In comes Bumrah. 2 out of his 6 balls were bouncers while other 4 balls were short and in batsman’s body. He went for only 4 runs in that over.

Bumrah came back to bowl the penultimate over of the innings, defending 18 in 2 overs. 5 of his 6 balls were length balls, near the off stump, cramping batsman with his pace and the hard length.

You would think this is Jasprit Bumrah, world’s best death bowler, he can bowl the toe-crusher better than anyone else but 10 of his 12 balls in death are fast, short and ending up in batsman’s body, cramping him for the room. Another example of his flexibility, he figured out that his length ball was hard for the batsman to hit on that deck and persisted with it.

Watching such flexibility by a bowler in death overs when most others are going for plenty because of repeating the same lengths and mistakes is a breath of fresh air. The fact that he has multiple ways to outsmart the batsman in this hard overs is a testimony to how good he is.

Importance in World Cup

There are a lot of things and examples to talk about Jasprit Bumrah and how good he is. Another example of him evolving his game can be him bowling yorkers with the new ball in both the warm-up matches.

Bumrah has 89 wickets in 45 ODI innings. His average is 22 & he goes for 4.5 RPO. Ridiculous numbers for a bowler who bowls in the PowerPlay and at the death. Since his ODI debut, no pacer (minimum 30 wickets) has a better economy rate.

Jasprit Bumrah, in his 3 years of career so far has shown that there is no end to a player’s evolvement. He has a calm head on his shoulders and is a great student of the game, something which allows him to pick up small things and implement them in his game.

Wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I say Jasprit Bumrah is as important as Virat Kohli for India in this World Cup!

On 5th June, he will represent his country for the first time in a World Cup match. India has a formidable team but there are 2 players India is expecting the most from, Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah. Cricket is a funny game, it can go either way, but there is no doubt that Jasprit Bumrah has the potential to be a match winner for India in this WC. A great world cup will be one giant leap he will take towards greatness.

Long way far in terms of greatness but in terms of importance to the team’s success, Jasprit Bumrah is equivalent of his skipper in the bowling department for 2 time world champions. Irrespective of what happens in World Cup, there is no doubt that India has a rare gem in Jasprit Bumrah, who will serve Indian cricket for a long time and has the potential to end up his career on the heights very few imagined!

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