Bumrah, ever an action-packed thriller
Jasprit Bumrah has been an action-packed thriller, nonpareil. Right from the time he visualised himself as a fast bowler of some force, tried his hand at it, dismantled well-arranged woodwork behind batsmen ranging from schoolboys, clubs players and others in the very many grounds in Ahmedabad, the strapping speed merchant had evoked compelling attention.
It was in the early phase of this decade and word spread that a youngster with a peculiar action was causing havoc in the minds of the batsmen. The local coaches became curious, rushed to Anand, the milk capital of India.
But the purpose of Vijay Patel and Jayendra Sehgal — both coaches of the Gujarat Cricket Association — was to see a young Sikh in flesh and blood, They were impressed with the pace he generated with the red ball. Patel and Sehgal were guarded; they decided to groom him in local cricket, But the phlegmatic talent scout for Mumbai Indians and former Kiwi opener John Wright thought otherwise.
After seeing Bumrah’s unusual action, his ability to extract vertical lift and flummox the batsman and beat the ’keeper Parthiv Patel in a West Zone T20 match at the Sardar Patel ‘B’ Ground in Motera in 2013, Wright ticked an important box on the talent-scout sheet, and got the approval of the MI management to develop a tyro.
In seven years of IPL, a good number of matches across all formats for Gujarat and splendid show for India in whites and blue, Bumrah is seen as the best in the world in white-ball cricket.
Danny Morrison, who has seen him grow in the IPL, said after MI notched its fourth title win: “What a wonderful find and development. You don’t have classical actions and it shows you the beauty of this game. We have funky actions like Jasprit Bumrah’s! He is hard to pick. He’s fundamentally superb. You look at his run up, it’s neither here nor there, it’s not that fluent like a smooth-geared run-up, and through the gaze, load up and release. But it works.
“Jeff Thomson had that sling-shot action. So it has worked for Jasprit, his sequencing timing. These are unique, very different ways of going about things. He has matured in the last two years and to be the best in the World in white-ball cricket. India’s chances of winning the World Cup will rely on him.”
Bumrah has taken 82 wickets in 77 IPL matches, 85 wickets in 49 ODIs, 49 wickets in 10 Tests and 51 in 42 T20Is. Now, it’s over to the World Cup in Old Blighty!
India’s fast bowling find was also made in the practice sessions at the GCA Academy. Parthiv Patel says: “If I have to describe his practice sessions, I would say he was competitive. He does not believe in routine stuff at nets. He would feel happy if he got a wicket. After the practice session he would pitch one stump and bowl 24 yorker-length balls. The yorkers have not come naturally to him, he’s worked to get that.”