‘I always loved Test Cricket’

For someone who lives and breathes the game, it’s never easy to accept being forced out of action. Jasprit Bumrah injured his thumb in the 2nd T20I against Ireland and subsequently missed out on being a part of the limited-overs leg in England. With Bhuvaneshwar Kumar down with a stiff back, Jasprit could only watch as India without either of its premier strike bowlers went down to England in the ODI series. Now, on his way back after the injury and visibly upbeat the pacer opened up on a host of topics ahead of the all-important Test Series.

“I always wanted to play Test cricket. My longtime dream was to play Tests. I was happy when I finally got to play it in South Africa,” the right-arm pacer told us when asked about what the longest format meant to him.

“The start also went well. I always loved Test cricket and I rate it very highly. I enjoy playing each and every format but for me, Test cricket is at the paramount level because I feel everything is tested at that level,” Bumrah added.

Jasprit Bumrah had an impressive debut series against South Africa earlier this year. He picked his maiden 5-wicket haul in the third and final Test against the hosts in Johannesburg.

The 24-year-old quick has become a shoo-in in the limited overs side and hopes to perform well in the longer format too.

“Hopefully, whenever I play more, I’ll be able to do well and gain more confidence. So that will reflect on other formats as well.”

“I never plan according to the tour or I don’t have any personal goals. I take it one day at a time. If there’s a practice session, I just focus on the practice session,” Jasprit Bumrah told us when asked about his plans before he flies off to England to join team India ahead of their marathon five-match Test series.

On being asked about the transition from white ball cricket to red ball cricket, Jasprit spoke about the importance of simplicity, “For me basically, I like to keep things simple. Not to complicate things because as you play a lot more, you tend to complicate things.”

“So, what I try to do is — keep things simple. As a bowler, I know what my strengths are. If I know that I’m very accurate, I will try to focus on it. I always believe that if I’m backing my strength, I’ll be able to do well be it in India or in any other country.”

From Mumbai Indians to team India and from Rohit Sharma to Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah has been a captain’s go-to-bowler at the death. And he’s got a very stable mind.

“My mindset is not very different in different formats. Obviously, skill-wise, things change in different formats, but my mindset always remains the same,” Bumrah said.

The tour of England will be a new challenge for Jasprit and he highlighted why, “It’s a little challenging because to stay in a different country for a long period of time is difficult.”

But he’s got a solution to tackle it.

“You look to enjoy the country, you look to see the place. That is how you get to know about the culture of the place and you eventually start enjoying the country. It then reflects on your performance as well,” he said.

Bumrah is a keen observer and a persuasive learner.

“Whenever I go to a new country, I always plan in advance. Before visiting the country, I have a look at a few videos. What works over there. What the home team does over there. It is very important for long tours to enjoy the country and see the places. So that’s the basic thing that I look to follow,” the Ahmedabad born pacer said.

Jasprit Bumrah made his Mumbai Indians debut in the 2013 edition of the VIVO IPL. He was fast-tracked into the Indian team and the fast bowler has cemented his place in the side ever since.

So how has the league helped him?

“In my case, it has helped me a lot. Once you play in the VIVO IPL you get to face a lot of exposure, you get to play with a lot of international and top players of the world.”

“When I went back to first-class cricket, I knew what my strength and what my game was.”

But it wasn’t just his performances in the VIVO IPL that helped him secure a berth in the Indian side. Bumrah was clinical in List ‘A’ cricket too. His numbers are staggering.

“The combination of both (VIVO IPL and first-class cricket) is very important according to me. As a player if you are doing well against the best players in the world, it gives you a lot of confidence,” Bumrah, who has picked 103 wickets in 29 List ‘A’ appearances, said.

The VIVO IPL has been a platform for a lot of youngsters to showcase their talent and hone their skills playing alongside global stars.

So, what are the merits?

“When you start playing international cricket things are not new. You are used to the pressure,” Bumrah answered.

“I think it’s very important and it is helping a lot of Indian players.” He added, “These youngsters are not afraid of the international level. So, I think this is a very good thing that is happening to us.”

The 2019 ICC World Cup is less than a year away. We asked Jasprit Bumrah about the morale in the team. His reply was heartwarming, “The team, as a unit, is very close. Everybody is really happy. Everybody is enjoying each other’s success. There is no jealousy. Everybody is happy when the team is doing well.”

“We’ve done well in the past two-three years. There are no individual goals that a specific player wants to achieve. It’s a team goal. The team is shaping up really well for the World Cup too.”

The Indian team has been a force to reckon with be it at home or away having won 9 out of their previous 10 bilateral ODI series.

“As a team, if everybody is close and everybody wants to do everything for the team, that is a very good sign moving forward. So that is a very, very positive sign which will help us in the foreign tours or the next tours which are coming up,” he concluded.

We wish Jasprit Bumrah and team India all the luck for their massive Test series against England which commences on August 1.