India’s fortunes have changed since the advent of Jasprit Bumrah. The right-arm pacer has been instrumental in India’s success in the last 3-4 years where he has become one of the best fast bowlers in limited-overs cricket. He was handed a Test debut in 2018 and since then Bumrah has become the spearhead of the Indian pace attack.
In the ongoing Test series against Australia, Bumrah has proved to be instrumental in India’s success in the second Test. Bumrah has gone from strength to strength in international cricket en route to quickly establishing himself as one of the premier pacers of his generation.
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Former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar has explained what makes Bumrah special. Akhtar has said that Bumrah uses a tactic that former Pakistan pacers Wasim Akram, Akhtar and Waqar Younis used to do. One of the fastest bowlers to have played the game, Akhtar is enamoured by Bumrah’s skill-sets and his ability to outwit a batsman in a mere “five seconds” from an ungainly run-up which isn’t exactly a critic’s delight.
“He (Bumrah) is probably India’s first fast bowler, who checks the wind speed and wind direction rather than how much grass has been left on the track. This thing used to be the art of Pakistanis, we used to know how you could play with the wind,” Akhtar said on YouTube channel “Sports Today”.
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Akhtar cited example of how the two Ws and him used to read the wind speeds during their heydays. “We used to actually (do that), me, Wasim bhai and Waqar bhai, we used to note the wind speed and direction, look the wind is blowing from that corridor, okay I might get reverse from that end,” he said.
“We knew mechanics and aero dynamics of fast bowling, how much swing and at what time of the day. This is my assumption that Bumrah knows these sort of things which I hardly think other fast bowlers know these sort of things.”
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For Akhtar, post Mohammed Asif and Muhammed Aamir, Bumrah is the “smartest operator” in terms of intelligence. With his seven-step run-up, Bumrah terrorises the batsman in a matter of five seconds. “In Bumrah’s world, in those five seconds, he only visualises the batsman and thinks about his art of taking wickets,” Akhtar said.
“He is a great character. He will be the most unusual but great fast bowler if fitness permits. If his back remains okay, he will play for a long time.”
Akhtar loves the manner in which Bumrah has proved people wrong. “He has proved people wrong time and again. The more people were critical of his ungainly action, he just told them, look boss this is what I can do with this action.”
Bumrah’s greatest asset is his ability to alter length in a small corridor and deceive the batsman first in air and then off the pitch. The use of crease is also one of his more effective weapons.
“He sets up subtle traps. The 2×2 length corridor where he bowls, if you ask him to pitch 60 balls at same place, he can do that day in and day out. When he comes over the wicket, he uses the crease well. He also comes close to the stumps, if need be goes wider, he plays with variations, so the length will increase or decrease as per need but it won’t be outside the corridor,” Akhtar pointed out.
“He can bowl those away swingers to left-handers which will swing back in the air as the batsman will commit to an incoming delivery. Then after pitching, it will become and away going delivery. He is that accurate fast bowler that if you get him out of sleep, he will pitch the bowler there only. He knows art of taking wickets.”
(with PTI inputs)
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