The mushrooming of franchise leagues all over the globe has cramped the cricket calendar even more over the last decade.
As a result, workload management – especially for pace bowlers – has emerged as a vital aspect of being a professional cricketer. The availability of a battery of pace bowlers has helped the team management and selection panel to rotate them.
However, at times, a forced break (read rest) has resulted in pacers losing rhythm. Pre-T20, pacers stressed the need to keep bowling in a match as much as possible.
But India's death-over specialists Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar spelt out the manner in which they deal with workload management.
Both were given a break during the just-concluded two-Test series against the West Indies. Admitting to the danger of losing rhythm, Bumrah explained how he keeps himself fit despite the regular breaks.
“A break is always refreshing. The flipside is you need match practice as well. I try to replicate a match situation in the practice sessions. Such sessions will always hold you in good stead,” Bumrah told Sportstar on the sidelines of a promotional event for Asics.
“When you get a break, you try and focus on things you are not able to focus on while travelling. You also need to emphasise on things that you want to try and improve or introduce. For all that, match-like practice will help you all the time.”
Kumar, the senior of the two, detailed the plan that the BCCI medical and fitness team spell out. “When you are given rest, it means you need a break from matches because the workload for practice and that for a match are very different. During the break, the BCCI ensures we keep training either at the NCA or the trainers and physios send us a programme that we have to work on at home,” Kumar said.
“It includes details about how much you work out in the gym, how much you train, and how much you bowl. We stress on continuing to practice because once you lose rhythm, at times you end up using two-three matches or a series to get it back. The programme has been well-planned keeping all these things in mind.”
Both the pacers burst on the international scenes as white-ball specialists and have made a smooth transition into reliable Test-match bowlers. Incidentally, both the bowlers also manage to execute yorkers at will under intense pressure on a consistent basis.
“Sometimes it looks easy but it's not. There's a lot of hard work gone behind executing it in a match. I always believe in preparations; if you prepare well it becomes easier to execute it in a match," Bumrah said.
“The harder you work in the nets, the easier it will get in a match; that has been my philosophy. I try and simulate a match-situation in a net session. It could be a death-over session or a new-ball; I try to work on it by talking to the batsman, what is their mindset and accordingly I prepare and try and execute in the match.”