Indian Cricket has for long struggled to find a bowler who could be a lethal death bowlers specialist post the retirement of talismanic seamer, Zaheer Khan. Many have come since and failed, but a new shining prospect has emerged from nowhere by the name of Jasprit Bumrah.
Jasprit Bumrah came to the scene when he made his debut for his IPL franchise, Mumbai Indians in 2013. Unknown and inexperienced, Bumrah didn’t have much of an impact that season and played just the two matches, picking up three wickets at an economy of 10 runs per over.
Bumrah hasn’t played much of domestic cricket as well but his career picked up steam when he was surprisingly called to the Indian ODI squad for the tour to Australia in January 2016. At that point, Bumrah had played in 17 IPL games picking just the 11 wickets at an economy of 8.96 runs per over.
Bumrah would make his debut in the 5th and final ODI of the series. India were already 0-4 down, in spite of strong batting performances in all the four games. India would go on to concede another target of 320+ in this game but Jasprit Bumrah had already made a mark in his debut game. Figures of 10-0-40-2 were as good as you could get on a debut, and in a place where your other teammates went over 6.5 runs per over.
That match would though be remembered for Manish Pandey’s brilliant hundred to win India the game. Bumrah’s death bowling and dismissal of James Faulkner would be overshadowed but never forgotten.
Bumrah would make his T20I debut in the subsequent three-match T20 series vs Australia and he left a telling impression. In that series, Bumrah picked up six wickets @17.17 at an economy of 8.96. Out of those six wickets, five of them were in the final five overs of the innings. This impressed his then-captain MS Dhoni so much that he would go on to hail Bumrah as “The Find of the Tour.”
India played a flurry of T20s before their next ODI assignment and Jasprit Bumrah was at the heart of this T20 season. After strong showings against Sri Lanka and in the Asia Cup T20, the youngster found himself leading the Indian attack at the World T20. Bumrah picked up four wickets in five games, in a tournament which was largely disappointing for bowlers, and kept his economy rate down to 7.65 despite bowling a large chunk of his overs at the death.
The right-arm quick then impressed against Zimbabwe, West Indies and New Zealand later in 2016, with his miserly economy rate key to his success. His slingy action and low trajectory means his yorkers are notoriously hard to dig out, and countless batsmen around the world have been bowled trying to hit boundaries off him.
After a poor showing in the ODI series against England, Bumrah more than made up for his mixed form in the T20 series. The second game in Nagpur was where his worth was to be truly discovered. England needed 24 off the final three overs, which seemed like a very manageable task, even on a slow pitch. Bumrah bowled two of the last three overs, which went for just three and one respectively. England – needing just 8 in the last over – couldn’t do anything as Bumrah conceded just a run and a bye and picked up two wickets as India won by five runs. His death bowling is of the perfect combination of slower deliveries, yorker and the odd bouncer, the qualities which are very rare in today’s limited overs bowlers. India have tried many options to fill the void left by the maestro Zaheer Khan but no one has done what Jasprit Bumrah is doing now.
He maybe a very young bowler with a handful of international matches under his belt but the man has already proved himself in tough places and situations. He is the bowler for the future and not only Indian Cricket, but World Cricket could with a bowler like him to keep the art of death bowling alive provided he’s groomed and kept fit.
The 23-year-old may not have an orthodox action nor the proper lengths for Test cricket but he’s a bowler who’s learning his trade very quickly and could easily be one of the World’s premier fast bowlers in next to no time. He’s already Number 2 in the T20 rankings for bowlers. What makes Jasprit Bumrah so exciting? He’s that bowler Indian Cricket has craved for since Zaheer Khan, a bowler who knows what needs to be done in those final overs where Indian Cricket has really struggled for a good part of a decade now.