“Is it time up for Bumrah’s dominance?” “Is Jasprit Bumrah isn’t the Jasprit Bumrah anymore” or batsman has found a way to decode the mystery which the premium fast bowler from India possesses. It is one of the questions which have risen in every cricket fan’s mind after India’s humiliating defeat of 2-0 against the “kiwis” prior to this global pandemic.
In the test series against New Zealand, Bumrah finished with only 6 wickets to his name. The wickets provided help for the seamers and the kiwi bowlers got a good amount of purchase from the tracks. Even his fellow team mate Ishant Sharma bagged a fifer in the first test. Bumrah was either too short or too full in the series which made things easy for the kiwi batters as he failed to find his line & length consistently.
Bumrah has returned in International cricket after suffering from a stress fracture in his lower back, which was detected prior from the South Africa’s series. Since his comeback, the performance of India’s speed star is not up to the mark. He is struggling to pick wickets in every format. Bumrah picked 6 wickets in 5 T20s against New Zealand in which 3 of those wickets came in a single game. He went wicket less in the ODI series as well, he failed to pick single wicket in the series and was turned out to be the main reason behind India being whitewashed 3-0. But what is the reason that led to this? Why is Bumrah struggling and became ineffective? Let’s analyze what went wrong with him in this pandemic time:
1. Rhythm- Bumrah is a rhythm bowler & wasn’t in his best during his last series. The ball wasn’t swinging for him. His main strength was been bowling 145+Kph with tight line and length, but since his comeback, the pace has significantly dropped down to mid 130’s.
2. Cautious approach against him- The mind set of batsman has completely changed against Bumrah as they tend to take less risk against him. The opposition is aware of his true potential and are happy to play him out. They are happy to negotiate him by defending or by changing ends with single rather than attacking him, and by that approach the chance of losing wickets drops down. Bumrah is in a phase where teams are saying ‘even if we get 35 runs from him, we are happy with that as long as we are not giving him wickets’.
3. Game Practise- Lack of game time is also a major factor in his struggle since his return from injury. Bumrah was directly drafted into the squad without playing any first class game or domestic match. His strength is to bowl wicket to wicket or on fourth-fifth stump without offering any freebies. He generates steep bounce from the track using wide-angle with his unorthodox action and a first class game for Gujarat would have certainly helped his cause prior to the New Zealand series. He bowls accurate Yorkers and slower ones at death which were missed in the limited over’s arena against New Zealand. All these acts are practise generated things and are certainly affected due to injury and are difficult to execute on ground without much game time. It always takes time to get back to top form because there is no substitute of game time.
4. Lack of support from other end- Lack of support from the fellow pacers is probably a major concern as he never got support from his counterparts (except for Shami). The New Zealand batsman played Bumrah with utmost care and hammered the likes of Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur and Shivam Dube in limited over’s matches. Even Shami was quite a bit on expensive side. This shows how the Indian side is heavily dependent on Bumrah
5. Lean patch- Bumrah has never faced lean patch in cricket since hisdebut, but this time he is going through that. He is in that phase where things are not working out even after he is putting effort.
6. Pressure of higher expectations- There is a very interesting stat about Bumrah, he hasn’t played a single test in India, his entire 14 test has been away from home and has 68 wickets to his name. This is the performance he has been giving and everyone expects a lot from him. The expectations on his shoulders add to his pressure and sometimes it shows on his game. He has struggled to deliver as per his reputation after his comeback.
Jasprit Bumrah is the backbone of Indian bowling line up and is not in the best of form in New Zealand. Yes, he is economical, but since his comeback, he is not completely yet the Jasprit Bumrah we used to know. He is missing the Yorkers and is struggling with his line & length. The year 2020 has a time which we all needs to forget. This will be his testing time for him to settle down. Hopefully, we can see the old Jasprit Bumrah which we are used to for the man in blue after the Covid 19.