The interesting story behind Jasprit Bumrah's debut
A slice of luck, injury to two key bowlers and the tale that brought Bumrah to international cricket.
You might have all the talent in the world but to make it at the highest level, you need a slice of luck. Jasprit Bumrah, who is now a regular in India's limited-over sides, got his, during the 2016 tour of Australia, where he made his ODI and T20I debut.
An exhausted Bumrah had just made his way to Sydney, where the fifth match of the ODI series was going to take place. As luck would have it, Bhuvneshwar Kumar got injured ahead of the game and Bumrah, who was only in the squad due to an injury to Mohammed Shami, got his chance to showcase his skills.
Speaking about his tryst with international cricket on What The Duck 2, the talk show on which he was the latest visitor, Bumrah revealed Dhoni's advice just minuted before his international debut was "do whatever you know".
He recalled how he got selected for the T20s and ODIs but an issue with the visa meant that he went ahead of the last ODI when Bhuvneshwar Kumar was injured and the tale of how he went alone on a long, tiring flight from Delhi to Sydney, which had already got him bored. To make matters worse, he was in a strange land, where he knew no one, barring Axar Patel, who was his Gujarat teammate.
Yet, even as he reached, he got his slice of luck again, as the practice session scheduled for 12 got canceled due to rain and Bumrah, who had arrived only at 10, had the opportunity to rest for a while after his long flight.
After arriving just ahead of the final ODI, with the players and the support staff not having an opportunity to see him play, the then 22-year-old fast bowler was sure that he would be carrying drinks but then came the twist in the tale.
The meeting with Ravi Shastri
Recalling the events that followed the team meeting the next day, Bumrah said: "So, then Ravi Shastri was the team director, so he came and asked me, 'Are you fresh?' I said, 'Yes, I am fresh.' 'So ready?'"
That was when a confused Bumrah found out that he will be playing in the final ODI of the series that India were losing 4-0. Confused and slightly taken aback, Bumrah was sure that Dhoni (then captain) or someone else would come up to him and offer him some advice. But that wasn't what happened as the warm-up was done, as was the toss but still no one came forward.
Bumrah added that he thought someone would come up "they'll say that, 'be calm, we'll tell you. This is the plan." but nobody said anything.
Dhoni's advice ahead of his debut
Then spoke about how Dhoni came up to him, a few minutes before the game and spoke a few words when a confused Bumrah, was looking for instructions.
"The only thing which I want to say is, do whatever you know. Whatever fields you want, we'll give."
That was when the fast bowler decided that it was time to treat this as a "normal Ranji Trophy game". He did, and finished with figures of 40/2 on his ODI debut, as the most economical bowler in the side and India chased down 331 on the back of Manish Pandey's unbeaten century.
He hasn't looked back since then as India whitewashed Australia 3-0 in the T20I series, with Bumrah's performances earning special praise from MS Dhoni and the fast bowler has since played in the World T20 and the Champions Trophy. But the slice of luck that led to his international debut is something that the 23-year-old will always be grateful for.