“Bumrah has become a match-winner for India in ODIs and T20Is. Bumrah would have certainly made Virat Kohli’s job a tad easier”
Since his debut in 2016, Jasprit Bumrah has turned him into one of the deadliest bowlers in limited-overs cricket. His unorthodox action, his toe-crushing yorkers and his pace have often left the batsmen bamboozled. However, in the upcoming ODI series against England Bumrah does not feature in the Indian squad due to an injury, which is a huge blow to the Indian team. India managed without Bumrah and etched out a narrow 2-1 series win in the T20I series, but will they be able do the same in the ODI series?
There is little doubt that this Indian team relies on Bumrah heavily – at the beginning of the innings for early breakthroughs and in the death to choke the batsmen. Bumrah could have been the perfect bowling partner for Bhuvneshwar Kumar at the start, but now India at the last minute have included Shardul Thakur, who had a mixed start to his international career so far. They also have Siddarth Kaul at their disposal, if needed. But looking at the brief careers so far, nobody seems coming even close to the stature of Bumrah.
Bumrah has adjusted really well and really quickly to international cricket. When India toured Australia in the beginning of 2016, many new faces got a chance in the team. Along with Bumrah, the likes of Manish Pandey, Gurkeerat Singh, Rishi Dhawan and also Barinder Sran were all included in the squad. Bumrah has replaced an injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had fractured his left thumb in the game before. On a batting friendly wicket in Sydney, Bumrah came in as a huge surprise for the Aussies, as the Gujarat pacer claimed 2-40, including the wicket of Steven Smith in his debut innings. He mesmerised the Australians with his yorkers and variations.
He never looked back from there. He had a memorable Ranji Trophy season (2016-17), where his 24 wickets from 7 matches at 21.75 helped Gujarat win their maiden title. He carried his good run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy too that year, where picked up 13 wickets 20.6 and an economy rate of under 4. And just like that, India had found their next bowling superstar.
Be it against South Africa, Sri Lanka New Zealand. Pakistan or Australia, Bumrah delivered against all the teams. His place in the limited-overs set up is all but sealed. One thought not having Bumrah for the T20I series against England would be a tad advantageous to the hosts. India leaked a lot of tuns at the start in all three games, but pulled things back at the latter stages. Bumrah could have possibly made a difference of about 10-15 runs had he played, but some of the new players stepped up and delivered, which speaks volumes about India’s depth.
Bumrah was always considered to be a limited-overs specialist. However, one could not ignore a Test call-up for a long time. He was in excellent rhythm before the South Africa tour and he rightly got a call-up. He played the Tests ahead of seasoned players like Umesh Yadav and was quite impressive.
Going into the tour, India would have certainly had Bumrah in their pans in each and every match. Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah and Hardik Pandya would have been their three pacers, with Kaul or Umesh stepping in whenever India played with just one spinner. With Bumrah not featuring, one of Shardul, Umesh or Kaul will get a nod in his place. Umesh, who is once again in contention after an impressive IPL will mostly take Bumrah’s place in the XI, just like Bumrah had to take Umesh’s place in the Test series against South Africa.
The last time Bumrah played in England, he dismissed Fakhar Zaman off a no-ball in the Champions Trophy final 2017. Zaman went on to score a century and Pakistan won their maiden title. Bumrah had a great chance to erase those memories this time.
India have drawn first blood in the England tour by claiming the T20I series. But could they manage without Bumrah in the ODIs as well? Within a short period of time, Bumrah has become a match-winner for India in ODIs and T20Is. Bumrah would have certainly made Virat Kohli’s job a tad easier.