Sir Richard Hadlee feels only time will tell whether Jasprit Bumrah can prolong his career with his unorthodox bowling action. The New Zealand legend explained how Jasprit Bumrah’s action leaves him vulnerable to injury.
Bumrah’s unique action has attracted attention ever since the young gun burst onto the international scene. Many players like Kapil Dev and Michael Holding have discussed how the pacer's bowling style may lead to a spate of injuries.
Richard Hadlee spoke to the Times of India in an exclusive interview, where he shed light on the shortcomings of Jasprit Bumrah’s action.
“Jasprit's longevity in the game is yet to be determined. I suspect he could be more vulnerable to injury problems than those fast bowlers with more classical and 'pure' actions or techniques. Some of his potential injuries could be severe because of the stresses and strains he places on his body,” Hadlee explained.
Jasprit Bumrah’s manages to hit the deck hard and generate a lot of pace despite his relatively short run-up. Many biomechanical experts have pointed out how Bumrah’s unorthodox bowling style puts greater pressure on specific areas of the body, which is harmful to him in the long run.
However, Bumrah has managed to stay injury-free for the majority of his career so far, with the 27-year-old becoming one of the best bowlers in international cricket.
Richard Hadlee hopes Jasprit Bumrah manages to maintain his fitness, admitting the Indian speed gun is a joy to watch.
"I hope any injuries he may incur will not be potentially career-ending because he is a delight to watch, and he causes batsmen all sorts of problems with his unsuspecting pace, bounce, and ball movement in the air and off the pitch,” Hadlee mentioned.
"Jasprit Bumrah fits into the unorthodox bowling category" - Richard Hadlee
The legendary fast bowler then went onto explain why pacers run a greater risk of injury in cricket. The 69-year-old called fast bowling a "highly unnatural thing to do," pointing out how it is just not about brute strength.
“Being a fast bowler is a highly unnatural thing to do. Running in from 20 paces, gathering pace, taking off at delivery, bowling a ball at 140-150 kilometres, cartwheeling, twisting and turning, following through and then stopping, takes its toll on the body. Then the process is repeated time and time again. Fast bowling is an explosive sequence of highly coordinated movements - it is about rhythm, timing, and coordination and not necessarily about brute strength,” Hadlee continued.
Richard Hadlee expounded on how all fast bowlers adopt different actions that suit their style best, suggesting that while some have classical and effective actions, others like Jasprit Bumrah have unorthodox and unusual ones.
“Jasprit fits into the unorthodox bowling category with virtually no run-up to the crease. His technique in some way defies belief but has proved to be highly effective. He is what I call a shoulder or strength bowler with all his power and pace coming from the final part of his action as he releases the ball. It would be very difficult to coach his technique to an aspiring fast bowler and I think a coach would refrain from doing from that because biomechanically it could cause problems with injury,” Hadlee concluded.
Although Jasprit Bumrah is India’s premier bowler in all formats, the team’s strength in depth allows them to manage the pacer’s workload.
With a ready crop of pace bowlers in red and white-ball cricket, India can continue to keep Bumrah fresh and ensure he remains fit throughout his career.