Teams Played For
India, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat, West Zone, India A, India Green
For a long time, India was a country that was only known for producing some world-class batsmen and wily spinners. Presently, the Indian team is equally renowned around the world for their potent crop of fast-bowler. One of the most prolific of the lot is Gujarat's Jasprit Bumrah.
A usual overseas tour, a usual struggle, and it just seemed like the best possible moment for Jasprit Bumrah to enter the scene. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffering an injury, Bumrah made his debut in the 5th ODI against Australia in Sydney in 2016. Bumrah made an immediate impression with two wickets and it has been a fantastic ride ever since for India’s premier seamer.
Until that 5th ODI, Bumrah was just a normal domestic and IPL bowler who excited fans with his unorthodox slinging action. It is an action that is hard to teach. On scrutiny, it is a result of modern-day tennis ball and street cricket. The coaches must be lauded for not tampering with the unique aspect of bowling. It has been very common for coaches to stick to traditional methods and try and bring in unique talents into the old-school web but Bumrah had it lucky there.
Bumrah’s IPL side, Mumbai Indians (MI) have always been known for unearthing unknown talent and a large chunk of that credit has to go to the former Indian coach and MI scout John Wright. It was Wright who had identified Bumrah during the 2013 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Although, Bumrah made a superb entry into IPL cricket against RCB in 2013 by dismissing Virat Kohli as part of his three-wicket haul. He never became a regular member of the MI set-up until the 2016 season. However, the academy of learning, that is the IPL, allowed Bumrah to feed off Sri Lankan matador, Lasith Malinga’s knowledge and experience especially with respect to death overs bowling.
With IPL opportunities not on his side, Bumrah worked his way up through some solid outings in domestic cricket. In the 2015 season, the Ahmedabad-born pacer starred in all three domestic formats and even helped Gujarat lift the Vijay Hazare Trophy by picking up 21 wickets in just nine matches. In the same tournament, Bumrah had also bowled MS Dhoni in a group match against Jharkhand.
Going back to the India tour of Australia in 2016, Bumrah’s upward rise was really quick. Bumrah got another break as he was announced as the replacement for the injured Mohammad Shami in the T20I squad. He made the best use of the opportunity by finishing the three-match T20I series as the leading wicket-taker with six scalps. Some more good performances saw him make it into the 2016 WT20 squad and he put in decent performances with India bowling in the semi-final stage against the West Indies.
All this while, the Indian selectors would have been tempted to give Bumrah a Test cap but it was only in South Africa, 2018 that he was able to make his first appearance in the longest format of the game. The skiddy pacer made an immediate impression in red-ball cricket and led India to a win at Johannesburg before helping the team seal a historic 2-1 series victory in Australia. In between these tours, Bumrah also had a productive series against England wherein he picked up 14 wickets in three matches. There were a lot of preconceived notions about Bumrah being more of a white-ball bowler but he broke those stereotypes in a matter of just 12 months.
As a reward for such performances, Bumrah was named in both the ICC ODI and Test Teams of the Year in 2018. Going into a World Cup year in 2019, naturally, there was a lot of expectation from Bumrah and he did deliver by picking up 18 wickets in nine matches. Although India fell at the semi-final stage, Bumrah starred in the game’s most high-profile tournament. Post that tournament, Bumrah sizzled against the West Indies by registering figures of 5/7 in the first Test before taking a hat-trick in the second game.
At the IPL level, Bumrah has grown into a player who is regarded as a cornerstone of the success of Mumbai Indians. The composure and skill shown by Bumrah against Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 2019 were lauded by one and all as he went onto bag the ‘Man of the Match’ award for his exemplary spell. In the latest edition of the IPL, Bumrah got the better of Kohli and he jumped to the third spot in the tally of most dismissals of Kohli by a single bowler. Bumrah has always been in the charts for the highest wicket-taker in the cash-rich league. In the 2020 IPL held in UAE, Bumrah scalped 27 wickets in just 15 matches will be hoping to wreak havoc as soon as the remainder of the 2021 IPL commences.
From being a skinny teenager to strengthening himself both physically and also in terms of his action, Bumrah has come a long way over the years. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that Bumrah is considered as important as the skipper Virat Kohli with respect to the Indian team. He is one of the only three cricketers to hold an A+ contract with BCCI, with Virat and Rohit Sharma being the others. Credit to Bumrah that he has worked on natural skills, gained the most from his interactions with the Sri Lankan veteran and strives to become the best in the business in the modern generation.
(As of June 2021)