Potent Bumrah showcasing skills for higher honours

Potent fast bowlers are produced few and far between in India and the rise of Jasprit Bumrah, not of the stereotype, has been one of best things to have happened to Indian cricket.

Jasprit Bumrah has had a fruitful Ranji Trophy season so far.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

As a fast bowler, Jasprit Bumrah has shown the wherewithal to excel in two formats of cricket. In fact, he has been exceptional in Twenty20 internationals, taking 28 wickets at a low cost of 18.82 and in One-Day Internationals (ODIs), he possesses 17 wickets at a frugal 14.64.

The 23-year-old with a deceptive sling-action and equipped with the skill to bowl the yorker-length at will has even been named in Cricket Australia’s ODI squad of the year; just to put it in perspective, the rookie fast bowler has played only eight ODIs in 2016 after making his debut against Australia in Sydney at the start of the year.

Spotted first by former India coach John Wright during a talent-hunt assignment for Mumbai Indians (MI), Bumrah has turned out to be the linchpin for MI, Gujarat and for India’s limited-overs teams.

He awaits his chance - which does not seem far away - to play in the flannels. The selectors would be keen to blood him, should an opportunity arise. India is set to play a one-off Test against Bangladesh (February 8-12, 2017 in Hyderabad) and four against Australia (February-March, 2017).

Potent fast bowlers are produced few and far between in India and the rise of Bumrah, not of the stereotype, has been one of best things to have happened to Indian cricket. The likes of Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have been decent performers in the two home series against New Zealand and England, and the likes of Mumbai's Shardul Thakur and Bumrah fit nicely into the bench strength.

Nagging injuries have laid low Jharkhand's Varun Aaron, who came before Thakur and Bumrah.

Bumrah will be seen in action for Gujarat against Jharkhand in the Ranji Trophy semifinal at Nagpur's Civil Lines Stadium from January 1. He did not play against Railways in Lahli and Uttar Pradesh at the Palam Ground, New Delhi, because of his national duty against New Zealand in the ODIs. He was in the Gujarat team that was set to play against Bengal; the match was called off.

'Brilliant'

Bumrah has taken 17 wickets at 22.94 in six matches, including a 6 for 71 against Mumbai at Hubbali and 5 for 41 in the quarterfinal against Odisha in Jaipur a few days ago. “He bowled brilliantly against Mumbai,” said Gujarat head coach Vijay Patel.

Among Gujarat’s bowlers, left-hand medium pacer Rush Kalaria has done all the hard yards, taking 26 wickets at 21.53, and left-arm spinner Hardik Patel has chipped in with 17. Otherwise, the bowling department looks thin.

Left-arm spinner Axar Patel is to undergo surgery to heal a thumb injury he suffered while fielding during the fifth Test against England in Chennai. The Gujarat batsmen Priyank Panchal, Samit Gohel, Manpreet Juneja, and Parthiv Patel have amassed runs, but in a key national championship semifinal match, much of the attention will be on Bumrah, who should be a sure choice for the selectors for the ODI series against England.