India's senior-most player Ishant Sharma finds it "funny" that people are questioning Jasprit Bumrah's "ability" just after a few matches, ignoring his performances over the past two years. The veteran of 97 Test matches joined his pace partner Mohammed Shami in responding to those who have been critical of Bumrah's barren run that started during the ODI leg of the New Zealand tour.
"It's funny that perceptions changed after one innings. For two years, we have always taken 20 wickets, myself, Boom (Bumrah's nickname in Indian dressing room) and Shami along with Ash or Jaddu (at home). How can people question on the basis of one innings (Test)?" Ishant asked while defending his colleague.
"I don't think anyone doubts Boom's ability. Since his debut, what he has achieved for India, I don't think anyone should raise any questions," said Ishant.
He finished the second day of the opening Test between India and New Zealand with figures of 3 for 31. Shami also spoke in the same vein after Bumrah went wicketless in the three ODs.
"I can understand we are discussing on a topic (after a certain length of time) not just after 2-4 games. Just because he hasn't performed in two games, you can't just ignore his ability to win matches," Shami had said last week.
Bumrah also had support from New Zealand pacer Tim Southee, who called him a "world class bowler" and found nothing wrong in his execution. "I don't think there's anything wrong. He is a world-class bowler. He is obviously coming back from injury, but he is a quality player, and we know a great performance is never far away when you're a quality player," Southee said.
Southee is happy that New Zealand batsmen have been able to keep Bumrah quiet during this series. "Hopefully, we can keep him quiet for the rest of the tour, but good players never stay down for long. I am sure he is working extremely hard behind the scenes to take wickets.
"Sometimes you can bowl really well and actually not get the rewards you are after," said Southee in an empathetic tone.
"There might have been a few games during the one-day series and the games so far he's played where he has actually felt really good, but hasn't taken a wicket.
"So as I say, he's a world-class bowler, and hopefully, we can keep him quiet for the rest of the tour," Southee said.