Nestled in the serene corner of Vastrapur, a bustling neighbourhood in Ahmedabad, stands Nirman High School. The school proudly displays images of a radiant Jasprit Bumrah at its gate. Once inside, the campus is adorned with photo collages of a young Bumrah and the array of trophies he earned during his school years. The school’s grounds, adjacent to the main building, bear witness to Bumrah’s transformation from a reserved schoolboy to a champion bowler.
Bumrah’s coaches at Nirman, Kishore Trivedi and Ketul Purohit, recognised his potential early on. Bumrah was seven when his father, Jasbir, passed away, leaving his mother, Daljit, with the responsibility of managing the household and raising two children, Bumrah and his sister Juhika.
Daljit, then the vice-principal of Nirman High School’s pre-primary section, turned to Trivedi, father of former Gujarat and Rajasthan Royals fast bowler Siddharth Trivedi, to enrol Bumrah in his academy. It marked the beginning of Bumrah’s incredible cricket journey.
Every day after school, a young ‘Jassi’ would hit the field. “When I saw him in the nets for the first time, he troubled the batters with pace generated by his quick arm action and short run-up. I watched him bowl for about 10 minutes and was convinced that if we could guide him well, he had the talent to go far,” Trivedi says.
“He was bowling fair [legal] deliveries, and all he needed to focus on was maintaining the line and length,” he adds.
Over the following days, Trivedi and Purohit closely observed Bumrah to ensure he wasn’t ‘throwing’. Trivedi, who has since moved on to run the Royal Cricket Academy in Prahladnagar, recalled advising Bumrah not to change his unique action, encouraging him to harness it. Earning the coaches’ trust, Bumrah honed his yorker. Included in the school team, he received guidance from Siddharth, an IPL star, on precision bowling. “In one of the local tournaments, I made him play all four matches, and he bowled perfect line and length. What set him apart was his speed,” reminisces Trivedi. Consistently reaching 140 kmph, Bumrah became a local cricket sensation, making rival batters lose their sleep whenever Nirman’s team played.
But Daljit was still not convinced. “Initially, Jasprit took things casually and wasn’t quite disciplined. So, one day, his mother called me and asked whether he indeed had a future in cricket. I told her that Jasprit certainly had talent, and if he came to my camp regularly, I would try and make him ready for at least state-level cricket,” says Trivedi. Purohit echoed the sentiments.
After consulting both coaches, Daljit allowed Bumrah two years to pursue cricket. Those years transformed his life. At 19, he was chosen by the Mumbai Indians (MI) for the Indian Premier League (IPL). Notably, former New Zealand captain and ex-India coach John Wright, scouting for MI, was impressed and brought him on board.
However, Bumrah’s early journey wasn’t a fairy tale. A few years prior to joining MI, he tried out for the district U-19 team but was named as a reserve due to his unconventional bowling action.
However, he caught the eye of Anil Patel, the current secretary of the Gujarat Cricket Association. Patel recalls Bumrah initially sitting out for three games, but when he finally played, he took seven wickets. Bumrah’s breakthrough came when he joined Gujarat’s white-ball team, making his debut in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in March 2013. Just a month later, he made a striking IPL debut against Royal Challengers Bangalore, taking three wickets. His face-off with RCB captain Virat Kohli, conceding three boundaries before dismissing him, caught the world’s attention.
Although Bumrah played only two matches that year, MI retained him for the next season. Hitesh Majmudar, Gujarat’s coach during Bumrah’s early days, noted his transformation. “Jasprit made his Ranji Trophy debut after playing in the IPL. Back then, he would bowl only in-swingers as he would come wide off the crease. But with time, he worked really hard and emerged as the best in the business,” says Majmudar.
Despite making it to the IPL, concerns persisted about Bumrah’s bowling action, with an umpire raising objections during the 2015–2016 Vijay Hazare Trophy. Fortunately, the Gujarat team management’s support resolved the issue.
A month later, Bumrah flew to Australia, debuting for India on January 23, 2016. In seven years, he has become India’s fast-bowling leader, overcoming injuries, and impressing mentors.
Looking ahead to the ODI World Cup in India, coach Trivedi anticipates a challenge for bowlers on batting-friendly pitches such as Ahmedabad. He emphasises the importance of managing Bumrah’s workload and maintaining peak fitness. Trivedi acknowledges Bumrah’s star status but still sees him as the young Jasprit with immense potential, hoping for his continued success on the field.
Trivedi won’t attend the India-Pakistan match at Narendra Modi Stadium but is rooting for Bumrah to have a successful World Cup journey.
“Like always, I will be watching the game on television and hope that Jasprit plays a key role in India’s victory,” he says.
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