Jasprit Bumrah is no genie, but he keeps on giving

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safari
12 Jan 2022 | 05:20 PM
authorBastab K Parida

Jasprit Bumrah is no genie, but he keeps on giving

Only apart from his third spell, Bumrah’s FS% percentage never dropped below 25.9% and ended the innings with an average of 29.0%

Four years into his Test career and a little over six years since the international debut, Indian Cricket already owes Jasprit Bumrah a huge debt of gratitude. For he is different than everyone who came before him is not up for debate, but what is even more significant to understand is that Bumrah has been at the center of the renaissance of India’s courageous showing in alien conditions in a way no one had even imagined.

Not just the numbers of wickets he has taken nor even the crazy breakthroughs when nothing seemed to have been working has defined Bumrah’s hostility as much as his ability to stay in the game has. The way he maneuvers a balanced retaliation even when things seemed to have gone awry has made sure that Bumrah has become the hottest property for India - a country infatuated by cover drives and pretty sweeps.

Nipping the ball back in a slight bit from the length and then using the pace of the ball to beat the defense of the batter and then kissing the off-stump like a snake bite is a bowling equivalent of a gorgeous cover drive. As many batters have realized their most productive shots can sometimes become their biggest enemy and the same wasn’t farther from the truth for a bowler either. A little bit of uncertainty with the line and boom..you have a recipe for a disaster. 

Hence, from all the accounts, Jasprit Bumrah’s fifer at the Newlands would find a special place. It is where he had made his debut four years ago as a rookie pace bowler, who was not sure of the length and line in Test cricket. Now he has come there as an all-conquering master and a bowler par excellence with all sorts of accolades boasting on him from all quarters. If India had to win, Bumrah needs to be at the top of his game. Nothing less would work.

"There is always a lot of noise but the success, whatever comes is a byproduct. So basically what I try to do is have a routine and follow it again and again. Someday I would get a wicket, someday someone else would get the wicket. We as a unit want to focus on our routines, there will be doubters but that is something an individual has to decide. When I have paid attention to outside noise, it does not help. I try to control what is there in my control," Bumrah said at the end of the day’s play.

In Cape Town, Bumrah didn’t do anything different or out of the world. He just repeated the same thing, by doing virtually two men’s jobs. With India missing Mohammed Siraj, the enforcer who also provided a deep line of control, the side needed Bumrah and Shami to step up and more importantly, never lose that steam. While he provided control by not giving any easy runs, he induced 29.0% false shots and on in every 11 balls beat the outside edge. 

Umesh Yadav may have picked a couple of wickets - timely as well - but he conceded runs at an economy of 4.00 per over. Keegan Petersen and later Temba Bavuma feasted on his bowling from time to time. Thakur provided a bit of control but there were hardly any balls beating the batters’ edge. In such a situation, the only thing that mattered was how the duo of Bumrah and Shami would respond. They took contrasting ways to push for the cause and eventually landed the hosts in a soup. As a matter of fact, Bumrah’s all five wickets came when he landed the ball in the good length area.

That the intensity never dropped is understandable from his spell-wise statistics. Only apart from his third spell, where he bowled three overs for 6 runs, he had induced a false shot of 11.1%, Bumrah’s false shot percentage never dropped below 25.9%, and ended the innings with an average of 29.0%. That is a staggering amount of time forcing the batters to commit a judgment error. 

The fifer is a celebration of how India have become a superpower in Test cricket, a sense reserved for the likes of Australia of the early 2000s and late 90s and then the Windies of the late and early 80s. It is only a matter of a day or two, but the onus is right now on the batters to set up what can be a legacy-defining win. If a Bumrah clap can wrap it up, there would be no better sight. 

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South Africa vs IndiaIndia tour of South Africa, 2021/22IndiaSouth AfricaJasprit BumrahUmesh YadavMohammed Shami

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