IPL 2018: Jasprit Bumrah relies on clear mind, control

The 24-year-old stressed that breaks are handy as they help a bowler come out fresh ahead of a high intensity tournament like the IPL.

Jasprit Bumrah imbibes strength from the variety available in the Mumbai Indians camp.   -  Vivek Bendre

India pacer Jasprit Bumrah — who is returning to action after a break — is upbeat on delivering his best for Mumbai Indians (MI) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The 24-year-old stressed that breaks are handy as they help a bowler come out fresh ahead of a high intensity tournament like the IPL.

“I was at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), so I was training, and not sitting at home and sleeping. It was a long schedule in South Africa and the body needed rest. A good break brings your hunger back,” said Bumrah, ahead of the tournament opener against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Saturday.

MI bowling coach Shane Bond rated Bumrah highly too. “I watched a bit of the Test series in South Africa, where he looked good. It has been three seasons for Jasprit in the IPL. Over the period of time, everyone has seen the skills he developed. He is a fine all-round bowler. Now, he is a senior bowler in the team. But to me, he is still the same Jasprit, who is humble, wants to work hard and learn,” he said.

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Talking about Bumrah's all-round abilities, Bond particularly spoke about the way he moves the ball both ways. “He also has a good bouncer, yorker, a good slower ball and he also reads the game well. The more he plays in international cricket, which he is going to play a lot, he is going to get better and better; a great asset for Indian cricket,” added Bond.

Bumrah imbibes strength from the variety available in the MI camp. “I don’t think so much about responsibilities. I enjoy the job given to me. As a bowling unit, we are not dependent on one particular bowler. We have good spinners and good pacers. If you create pressure as a unit, the job is done. Everybody is doing their own bit. I don’t think about expectations or what pressure is there, I just focus on match situations,” said Bumrah.

Looking at the long IPL road, Bond believes a bowler needs to develop skills constantly as batsmen do. “As a batsman sees you for longer, they work out patterns understanding your variations. So, you got to find new ways to challenge the batsman and create doubts. People try to innovate, that’s the exciting part of T20 cricket, but the core skills do not change,” he reasoned.

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Bumrah’s mantra lies in a clear mind and control. “If you have that, you can execute even if you have two or three variations.”

Among his bowlers, Bond is yet to decode Akila Dananjaya — the Sri Lankan off-spinner. “He has some 15 different balls. I am still trying to work out what he finally bowls. But in the return game, the wicket in Chennai is likely to turn, we need to be flexible as a team. For years, we had two overseas pacers, complemented by Bumrah and Hardik (Pandya) earlier. We needed the ability to play another spinner who we can play in spinning conditions. So, we needed to match up,” said Bond.

Before heading to the training session, Bond summed up citing the role of Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman, who could keep things tight in the death overs. “Bumrah is capable of knocking teams over; Mustafiz and Bumrah have enough support at the back end to do the job. Jasprit is right up there, he is No. 1 in short form cricket for a reason. He had sustained performance for a long period.”