If there’s any doubt as to whether Jasprit Bumrah is the best fast bowler in the world right now, just go and check the ICC rankings. Bumrah, India’s pace spearhead, created history on Wednesday when he became the first Indian pacer to reach the pinnacle of the Test rankings, and truth be told, no one deserves it more than him. Indian pitches, foreign pitches, dry wickets, green wickets, batting pitches, bowling pitches… Bumrah will get you wickets everywhere. The amount of skills and wisdom Bumrah possesses will make you wonder whether he is the greatest ever, and while it may still be too early to pass that verdict, he certainly is the best fast bowler going around in the world right now.
But like they say, with great power comes great responsibilities. Given Bumrah‘s long injury layoff, it is important for the Indian team management to work around his workload. At 30, Bumrah playing each and every game for India in every format even if he is fit, may not be the right call for him going forward. Take it from a pacer who battled injuries in his career, such as Dale Steyn, and you will understand the importance of using judiciously. Bumrah’s amazing skillset makes him the crème de la crème among Indian pacers, but while the belief is he is second to none, Steyn reckons India won’t miss his services if he is given a break every now and then given the heavy dose of cricket Team India is injected with.
“Being an Indian player, there’s going to be a lot of workload. There’s a lot of cricket that India plays, they’re one of the highly-sought after teams in the world. It seems like India don’t really miss him because the step-in bowlers are up to the standard, and it’s a great credit to Indian cricket,” Steyn, Sunrisers Eastern Cape bowling coach, said ahead of the team’s SA20 Season 2 final against the Durban Super Giants.
“I think good Test bowlers make good T20 bowlers. They have good skill in terms of when to use a change of pace, when to use this slow ball, when to use their bouncer. I’m hoping that a lot of bowlers will get caught on to that and realise that the more red-ball cricket that they play, the better shorter format bowlers they will become,” he said.
Bumrah and the art of the yorker
In the second Test against England, Bumrah produced a delivery that might become one of the highlight reels of his career – the yorker bowled to Ollie Pope that destroyed the stumps. Bumrah’s yorker was so lethal that it earned him praise from the king of yorkers himself Waqar Younis, and being the champion that he is, BOOM returned the favour when he credited Waqar, Wasim Akram and the likes of Zaheer Khan for playing a role in him picking up the nuances of the delivery.
Adding to the Bumrah appreciation post is Steyn, who feels the greatness of the India quick lies in the fact that he has taken the pitch out of the equation.
“I don’t think there’s any Test bowlers right now who are able to run in and bowl essentially wicket-taking yorkers. To take wickets in Test matches, there are probably a handful of guys who could do that. Trent Boult was one of them, Mitchell Starc maybe. And obviously, Bumrah,” Steyn pointed out.
“I remember saying ages back that a good yorker bowled in India or South Africa or Australia remains a good yorker because you take the surface out of it, doesn’t matter where you bowled it. You take the pitch away and I think that’s one thing that he’s done really well. All round he’s a fantastic bowler. And it’s no surprise with his skiddy kind of action that he’s got that. He takes wickets on those docile pitches, so he’s fantastic.”