Jasprit Bumrah, along with Mitchell McClenaghan and Tim Southee, has done exceedingly well for Mumbai Indians in the ongoing IPL. The Gujarat fast bowler has taken 14 wickets at an average of 26 in 13 matches so far as against a collection of 11 wickets in 17 matches across the previous three seasons. Is he ready for Test cricket?
One of Australia’s finest cricketers and Mumbai Indians' head coach Ricky Ponting believes Bumrah is ready because he has the skills.
After offering tips to a group of Mumbai youngsters at the Videocon d2h cricket coaching clinic at the Islam Gymkhana on Monday, Ponting made an elaborate assessment of the upcoming fast bowler.
"It’s always hard to know if someone is ready because Test match cricket is a physical strain on bowlers. But if you look at the skills that Bumrah has, then you can say he is ready to play. He came of an injury last year. His fitness was not at the level it needed to be. But over the last few months, in particular starting with a tour of Australia and in the World Twenty20 and this entire IPL as well, he has been a standout."
"As Bondy (Shane Bond ) said, we have been lucky to have all three (Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee and Bumrah) having an excellent tournament. Jasprit may not have taken as many wickets as McClenaghan has, but the skills that he has displayed have been outstanding.
"He’s bowled the tougher overs, two in the PowerPlay and generally two overs in the death, and his skills with the slower balls, yorkers and bouncers were exactly where we wanted them to be. Full credit to Shane. Bumrah has an unusual action, he has good pace and with the brand new ball he can get some movement in the air. So if India is looking for someone to come in, Bumrah’s name will be in the selectors’ mind,” said Ponting.
Talking about Mumbai Indians' erratic form this season, he said: "It’s been very much up and down in the last couple of months. Yesterday's game was our best (against Delhi Daredevils). It was a very crucial game for our team; we had to win it. As a coaching group we were thrilled to get a performance like that. It shows the level of cricket our team is capable of playing. The unfortunate thing for us is that we have six days before our last league game. We will find a way to switch off and make sure that we are well prepared for the last game."
Season changing moment?
Ponting also praised Krunal Pandya’s effort with the bat.
"He’s made an impact wherever he’s batted; 3, 5, 6 and 7. It’s not about how many runs he’s got, but how he’s got them. He was amazing last night; it was a game-changing moment for us, maybe a season-changing moment. Look, he’s a smart head on his shoulders. There’s no doubt about that. He’s been a great find for Mumbai Indians this season.”
When asked what he will do when an offer comes to coach India, Ponting said: "I never say never to opportunities. But I am happy with the couple of jobs that I have now. I have a young family, so it will be difficult to coach any international team for 10 or 11 months a year. I will think about, whether it’s India or Australia, but at the moment my priority is my family and I will try and be the best dad and best husband.
"Who should be the coach, that’s for the BCCI and the Test match captain to decide. You are not going to find many candidates better than him (Rahul Dravid). He understands all three formats of the game. Whoever Virat (Kohli) wants around the Test match team, I think the BCCI will listen to him."
The Tasmanian also said that he would not like to change the fabric of Test cricket. "I am a traditionalist that way and I would never want the Ashes to be a day-nighter. But in some countries Test cricket needs a revitalisation."
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