Why the workload on Jasprit Bumrah should be managed judiciously
A lot has been said about the workload management of Jasprit Bumrah. Particularly since the speedster suffered a stress fracture on his lower back in September. It is needless to say that BCCI must take special care of the workload of a rare talent like Bumrah. For a start, the BCCI led by its president Sourav Ganguly did the right thing by pulling Bumrah out of a Ranji Trophy match between Gujarat and Kerala recently. The speedster was supposed to make his return to competitive cricket in the match after an injury lay-off.
Bumrah himself is believed to have requested the leave ensuring a less hectic route for his comeback. The Elite Group A tie of the Ranji Trophy naturally would have put a lot of burden on him straightaway. As of now, the BCCI authorities want him to focus only on limited-overs cricket. The Gujarat speedster had been the mainstay of the Indian bowling attack across formats till the injury occurred. He is expected to begin afresh with renewed zeal.
Bumrah has been included in the Indian squad that will play against Sri Lanka in a T20I series followed by an ODI series against Australia. Both the series will be played in India in January 2020. He is a genuine match-winner with the ball in hand. No team would want to omit him from the playing eleven even for a single match. He has picked up 103 wickets in 58 ODIs and accounted for 51 wickets in 42 T20Is. In 12 Tests he has managed 62 wickets so far. His records show that he has had a huge impact on Team India’s performance, and so the real task of BCCI will begin once Bumrah returns to the international scene.
Bumrah is a rare entity with a unique bowling action which has come under a lot of scanners. The legendary West Indian bowler of yesteryears Michael Holding even suggested a change in his action.
“If he wants to have a long career, he needs to have a run-up and action that puts a bit less stress on his body overall”
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Kapil Dev, who had lead Team India to its first World Cup in 1983 holds a similar view. “His action attracts injuries. He uses his arm more than body, so that can be a problem. A bowler like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar will last longer because he uses his body”. Dev iterated. But the USP of Bumrah’s bowling in his short and remarkably successful career has been his unique bowling action. “He is a special talent, he has got that awkward action which works as an advantage for him over the batsmen” opines the former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan.
Bumrah will also find it tough to change his action at this stage. Even if he does so, no one can guarantee that he will be able to emulate the level of success he has enjoyed thus far. It may prove counter-productive, insists former physiotherapist to the Indian team - Andrew Leipus. Leipus said that if there is anything wrong with the biomechanical aspect of the bowling action then it must be addressed. But before that, it should be established that the problem lies in the action and nothing else. Even then it should be the 'last resort', Leipus stressed.
Even though injuries are a part and parcel of a sportsman’s life every precaution must be taken to avoid them. Particularly in case of injuries that are related to excessive workload. The onus fairly and squarely lies on the BCCI in this regard.
At the moment, the Indian bowling attack is arguably the best in the world. Apart from Bumrah, the line up features Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. With such variety at disposal, the Indian think tank can adopt a rotation policy for its pace bowlers. It will not only ease the burden from any particular bowler like Bumrah but will also help in utilising the resources to the optimum.
Modified 03 Jan 2020, 17:17 IST