Dec 29, 2018
By MI Media
Jasprit Bumrah’s Test selection was questioned when he was named in India’s Test squad for the tour of South Africa earlier this year. Almost a year later, Bumrah has bagged 45 wickets, all away from home.
He has picked the most number of wickets for an Indian debutant in his first calendar year.
"It's been a good start. I always wanted to play Test cricket. Now, I've played cricket in three different (away) countries. So, I'm still learning. It's been good so far so yes, still evolving; still learning," Bumrah said in an interview published on bcci.tv.
He was asked if he felt special taking a six-for in the biggest Test of the year. Bumrah had a very humble response.
"Be it Boxing Day or any other day, for me, to play Test match cricket for India is a very big achievement. I always wanted to do that and I'm living the dream. I was very happy with today's performance and to contribute towards the team's success is always special."
He bowled a slower, dipping yorker to fox Shaun Marsh and have him absolutely plumb on the last ball before lunch. So what was the thinking?
"In the morning, we were discussing that the wicket was on the slower side but when I was bowling, it wasn't doing much and the ball had become soft.”
“Rohit was there at mid-off and he thought that it was the last ball (before lunch) and I could try the slower one. He told me that I had used it quite well in white ball cricket and I could give it a try. So yes, the execution was good and we got a wicket off the last ball," the Indan pacer revealed.
He also added that he had not bowled many versions of it in the ongoing series.
"Not many slower balls so far (in the series). But the wicket is on the slower side and the batsmen tend to play with hard hands and then it (slower ball) could come into consideration. That was the plan."
Giving an insight on Marcus Harris’ wicket and the entire idea of bowling short to him, Bumrah said, "We kept an eye on what happened in the first innings here (MCG).”
“Four of our batsmen got out to the short ball and the wicket, as mentioned, was on the slower side so we decided to use it. These deliveries are always on your head and become difficult to negate. We ended up getting a wicket which is good."
Harris hooked the ball straight down long-leg’s throat. Was the field discussed with skipper Virat?
"Whenever we bowl any kind of deliveries, we discuss the fields with the captain. We try to set the field in that way and I'm really happy that it worked."
The Australian media is quite amused by the way Bumrah bowls. He’s got an unorthodox action and a really short run-up to generate that kind of pace. So where does it come from?
"Maybe power (laughs). I can't exactly tell you why this action developed but as a kid, I watched a lot of television. I tried to copy different styles and hence I think it got jumbled up. As far as the short run-up is concerned, I used to play a lot of tennis-ball cricket and the backyard was small.
“For me, I always focussed on consistency. If you've got pace, you're good but if you don't become consistent, you won't get the rewards," said Bumrah, who now has a five-wicket haul in South Africa, England and Australia each.
Jasprit in less than a year has become Virat Kohli’s go-to-bowler. However, there was constant criticism behind his selection before he made his debut which might have made him doubt his own abilities.
"I would never doubt it. I had played a lot of first-class cricket and done relatively well there as well. So I knew if I would get the chance, I would do well carrying the confidence from first-class cricket. I used to love playing red-ball cricket back home and doing it for the nation is always a good feeling."
Jasprit has a wealth of experience and a lot of hard work to support his case. Now that he’s delivering, who does he credit his success to?
"There's no single player who has influenced me. I credit a lot of my success to my first-class experience. Over there, you need to continously bowl. First-class cricket has really helped me shape-up both my -- Test and ODI career," he concluded.