Jasprit Bumrah, the 23-year-old from Gujarat has taken the cricketing world by storm this past year. In his very first year as an international cricketer, he has already become the go-to bowler for limited overs cricket. His unorthodox action and ability to bowl the prized yorkers at will has seen him transition into India’s death over specialist.
He made his debut in Australia, playing a solitary ODI and 3 T20Is, as a replacement for an injured Mohammed Shami. His impressive showing led then skipper MS Dhoni to call him the ‘find of the series’. He followed this with remarkable performances against Sri Lanka at home. The Asia Cup for the very first time was played in the T20 format, as a preparatory one for the World Cup and Bumrah didn’t fail to impress.
His death bowling capabilities were on display in the World Cup too, as he continued his ascendancy into the upper echelons of T20 bowling. Zimbabwe weren’t spared either, and he didn’t put a foot wrong through the year. In the lone T20 against the West Indies, he broke a world record and ended his international year on a high with consistent showings against the touring New Zealand side. Bumrah is definitely to somebody to watch out for – a star in the making.
Bumrah’s action is unique one; it’s not exactly slingy, like that of his Mumbai Indian’s mentor Lasith Malinga, but has a whippy release. A hyper-extension of the shoulder makes the right arm remain straight while the elbows don’t bend, and his wrists whip the ball down.
This gives him the benefit of a ferocious whippy action and the control of a high arm release. The extra pause he provides before the release of the ball gives him a few extra seconds for his lethal accuracy.
Starting Down Under
What makes the Gujarat bowler truly special is his ability to deliver toe-crushing yorkers at will, an art Indian pacers seemed to have forgotten before Bumrah came onto the big stage. Following terrific performances in the domestic tournaments and IPL, he forced his way into the team in January 2016. He finally got his chance in the final ODI against the Aussies in Sydney.
India had already lost the series 0-4, and the match at SCG was only for pride.
Bumrah returned with figures of 2 for 40 in his quota of 10 overs in his very first ODI; his two scalps being Australian skipper Steve Smith and James Faulkner. What made his debut even more impressive is that the Australians plundered the Indian attack for 330 runs in 50 overs, and the youngster was easily the pick of the bowlers in his very first international match.
India went on to win the match, courtesy of a Manish Pandey century, but a bowling sensation was also born on 23rd of January, 2016.
He followed this with an equally inspiring T20I debut, returning with match figures of 3/23 in 3.3 overs, which was also the best figures for all bowlers on display. He added 3 more wickets to his tally after the other two T20Is in the series, though he was a tad bit expensive. India completed a whitewash of 3-0 in the T20 series, ending a rather long tiring tour of Australia on a positive note.
Taming the Lankan Tigers
After his impressive showing Down Under, he kept his place in the team for the T20Is against Sri Lanka at home. He was at his miserly best with tight effective spells of 4-19-0, 3-17-2, and 3-10-1 in the (overs-runs-wickets) 3 T20I series, which India won 2-1. India had found an able pacer for the long T20 season ahead.
Asia Cup – 6th time’s the charm
This was followed by a terrific and consistent showing in the Asia Cup, and he was instrumental in helping India clinch the trophy. His combined figures across 5 matches in the Asia Cup read – 18 overs for 93 runs and 6 wickets at a miserly economy of 5.167 in a T20 tournament played in sub-continental conditions.
He was potent with the new ball, delivering early breakthroughs, and lethal in the death overs, scarcely giving any opportunity for the batsmen to free their arms. India won its 6th Asia Cup title, and Bumrah’s stock was on the rise.
The World’s a stage
The Gujarati bowler continued to give decent performances in the T20 World Cup, picking up a wicket in every game except for the Bangladesh encounter. The Bangladesh match is known for the exploits of Hardik Pandya, in what was a memorable and thrilling last over against the Bangla Tigers.
But what one mustn’t forget is the terrific penultimate over by Jasprit Bumrah, giving away only 6 frantic singles, leaving Pandya with 10 runs to defend in the final over. This was commendable, considering a rather poor start of 28 runs conceded in his first 3 overs.
Unfortunately for India, his only off day in the tournament came in the semi-finals against the West Indies, were he got smacked for 42 runs in his quota of 4 overs, getting the sole wicket of Chris Gayle. This wasn’t too bad considering nearly 400 runs were amassed in this high-scoring semi-final in Mumbai.
Almost every bowler, except Ashish Nehra, was taken to the cleaners, as West Indies eventually triumphed over India, and went onto to win their second T20 title beating England in a thrilling final.
India’s tour of Zimbabwe did Bumrah’s reputation no harm. The very first ODI saw him return with match figures of 4 for 28 in 9.5 overs. 1/27 in 6 overs in the 2nd ODI and career best figures of 4/22 in 3rd ODI saw him win his first Man of the match award, helping India to a 3-0 series victory. The T20 series that followed saw him return with figures of 2/24, 3/11, and 0/23, as he helped India clinch the series 2-1.
After his 2/47 against West Indies in a high-scoring T20 encounter with nearly 500 runs scored and 2 individual centurions between the team, he became the bowler to claim the most wickets (28) in Twenty20 Internationals in one calendar year, surpassing the record of Dirk Nannes.
In the series against the Kiwis, Bumrah added 6 wickets to his tally in the 4 matches he played, at a commendable economy of about 4, helping India to a 3-2 series victory. This was his final international assignment of 2016, ending the year with 17 wickets in 8 ODIs and 28 in 21 T20Is.
2017 and beyond
India has a long home Test season ahead, and Bumrah is yet to make his Test debut. But after witnessing his remarkable potential, it will be sooner rather than later, that he will get an opportunity with the red cherry. He will have a big role to play in the ODI matches India have in store before the all-important Champions Trophy. Bumrah will have to play a huge role in seamer-friendly English conditions, if India are to retain their title.
His deceptive speed, courtesy of his bowling action, and effective variation of slower balls and shorter ones, and his trademark yorkers make him a huge asset for India in 2017 and for many years to come. He is definitely somebody that can be moulded to be the leader of the pace attack in all formats.
Wishing you a great 2017 from all of us here at Sportskeeda, Jasprit Bumrah!