After spending 11 months away from the game, a fit-again Jasprit Bumrah is back hungrier than ever and says he is ready to bowl long spells for India in the Asia Cup and subsequent ODI World Cup at home.
Bumrah, who last played in September 2022 before lower-back stress fractures pushed him on the sidelines for the “biggest break” of his cricketing career, is making his much-anticipated comeback with the T20 series in Ireland.
Here, he will be required to bowl four overs per game but speaking ahead of the first T20 on Friday, the star pacer said the plan was always to prepare for 50-over events including the Asia Cup beginning August 31 and the World Cup at home beginning October 5.
“We were mindful of the fact there is no Test cricket till the ODI World Cup. In my rehab as well, I was not preparing for a T20 game. I was always preparing for the World Cup competition.
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“I have been bowling 10, 12 and even 15 overs. So I have bowled more overs, that way it becomes easier when less bowling is required. We kept that in mind that we are preparing for one-day competition and not a four-over competition.
“I have lots of overs under my belt. You have to keep working your way up. From where you left, you are are little down and you keep working your way up,” Bumrah, who will captain India in the three T20s against Ireland, told reporters.
Bumrah said he is not holding back in the training sessions, as it was the case in the opening nets here on Thursday. A fully-fit Bumrah is a precious asset for India but the the 29-year-old is not going to get expectations get the better of him.
“I don’t really think about expectations. I just want to go enjoy the game as I have come after a long break. Never been away from the game this long. I am coming back to enjoy as I love this game.
“I am just the same guy (that I was 11 months ago). I always had a lot of belief. I understand I am coming back after a long lay off. I am very happy to be back. Been working really hard at the NCA. It has been a long road. The body feels good and looking forward to some game time,” he said.
Bumrah has got stellar success across formats with his slingy action but many former players including West Indian great Michael Holding have raised questions over his future with the same action that puts a lot of load on his back.
Never took it is as a dark phase
Self-doubt can creep in when a cricketer at the peak of his powers is forced to be away from the game for so long but Bumrah chose to look at the bright side.
“When injury takes time to heal, it can be frustrating. Instead of having self doubt, I was thinking how to get fit and make a comeback.
“It is important to give the body time and respect. I never took it as a dark phase and thought my career could be over. I was looking for solutions and when solutions came I was feeling good.
“When you are facing an injury you are trying to solve that problem, not what the world is saying. I wanted to recuperate. You learn to enjoy the game a lot more. I looked it as an off season. So I got to spend time with family. So was looking at the positives. At the same time, I missed being away from action.” Interactions with visiting teammates also kept him in good spirits.
“I met a lot of players at NCA. Sometimes things are not in your control. The body needs time to recover and you need to respect.
“When you come back you have the hunger. When you are playing continuous cricket you don’t know what an off season looks like. In this phase, as long as my physical restrictions were over I wanted to work on my fitness and bowling.
“I was following how the team was doing and (it) was good to meet the players,” Bumrah added.
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