GeneralThe Meteoric Rise of Jasprit Bumrah

The Meteoric Rise of Jasprit Bumrah

John Wright had a great international career and coached India for about five years. But I think his greatest moment after his international career was when he discovered Jasprit Bumrah and put him straight into the Mumbai Indians team in the 2013 IPL. He was stumped by Gujarat’s pacer in the West Zone T20 league match.

Then came the day, April 4, 2013… as a fast bowler who mimics bowling actions, this guy had my and the whole world’s attention with his unorthodox bowling action. With his first ball in mainstream cricket – Virat Kohli of all batters at the crease – Bumrah came on to bowl, raised both his arms parallel to his shoulders in the load-up, and everyone was stunned by his bowling action.

I still remember it was outside off, and Virat freed his arm to hit it for four runs. The next ball was again a four, and the fourth ball of the over was again a four, but the guy didn’t stop. He got Virat out with this slippery action, hitting him on the pads and trapping him in front of the wicket, 3 fours off the first 4 balls and then the wicket of modern legend Virat Kohli on the fifth ball – quite a rollercoaster start for young Jasprit Bumrah.

Little did anyone know that this IPL debut was not just a game but the spark for a meteoric rise. Who would have thought then that this man would become the only bowler in the history of cricket to top the bowling rankings in all three formats? He would only play one more IPL game that season, but he had caught the eyes of the world with his bowling precision and pinpoint yorkers.

After that IPL, he became a regular member of the Indian A team and performed exceptionally well. When he was knocking on the doors of the Indian team in 2014, he suffered his first serious knee injury, which kept him out of mainstream cricket for some time.

It is said that cricket, like life, is a fickle mistress. Just as Bumrah’s star was beginning to rise, fate intervened. Injuries plagued him and forced him to the sidelines, a silent observer of the game he so wanted to dominate. Months turned into years, and frustration gnawed at his spirit. But amidst the darkness, the fire burned brighter. He trained harder and came back stronger. In 2015-16, with an epic effort in Gujarat’s Ranji Trophy as the second-highest wicket-taker. And in the List A tournament, the famous Vijay Hazare Trophy, he was the main man for Gujarat in their first List A title.

Then, in 2016, came the news, a bittersweet symphony. Mohammed Shami, India’s spearhead of pace, was struck down by injury. A gap opened up, a gap that needed to be filled. And who better to step into the breach than Mr. Jasprit Bumrah?

In a five-match ODI series in Australia, Jasprit Bumrah sat on the bench for the first four matches. Finally, in the fifth ODI in Sydney, he got his chance to wear the blue jersey. As expected, he stood out as the best bowler in a high-scoring match where 660 runs were made in 100 overs. With an economy rate of just 4, he picked up two crucial wickets, including that of the modern-day great, Steve Smith, and performed exceptionally well in the death overs, helping India restrict Australia to 330. This marked the beginning of a promising international career.

Just three days later, Bumrah made his T20I debut in Adelaide, picking up three wickets with an economy rate of 6.6. It was a blazing start to his white-ball cricket career. The days passed, and Bumrah continued to improve day by day.

As time passed, Bumrah excelled in white-ball formats until 2018, when he received a call from then-India team coach Ravi Shastri, inquiring about his availability for Test cricket in the South Africa tour. In the Cape Town Test, he received his Blue Cap, marking the inception of a historic red-ball career. He finished the series with 14 wickets in just three matches.

Since then, Bumrah has never looked back, excelling in both limited overs and Test cricket. He has become the only bowler to top the rankings charts in all three formats of the game. Despite being a country famous for its batters and spin wizards, the emergence of a bowler with such authority and talent is nothing short of a miracle. Since his debut, no one has a better average in Test cricket than him, and he currently boasts the second-best average (20.39) in the game’s entire 140-year history (minimum 120 wickets). Additionally, he has the third-most Test five-wicket hauls since his debut.

Throughout his career, Bumrah has established himself as one of the best fast bowlers in the world, renowned for his yorkers, accuracy, and swing and seam bowling. He continues to be a key player for India in all three formats, and his journey is far from over.

The opinions expressed solely belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Grassroots Cricket.

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