Quick learner Bumrah soaring high

Quick learner Bumrah soaring high

INTELLIGENT: Jasprit Bumrah is a rare Indian pacer who has managed to read away conditions rather swiftly and has found immediate success. AFP

Before this year, Jasprit Bumrah hadn’t been part of any multiple-day game for more than a year. He had been branded India’s primary white ball bowler and not without a reason. His ability to swing the new ball and his skills in death overs have been second to none in limited-overs cricket but his transformation as one of India’s main red ball bowlers since his debut against South Africa this January has been even more fascinating.

Bumrah is just seven Tests old, including the ongoing match against Australia here, but seldom an Indian paceman has shown the ability to learn and adapt to different conditions in such a quick time. Bumrah in his short but fledgling Test career, has played in three different countries each offering challenges of its own. If South Africa offered him bounce and movement off the pitch and in the air, England presented generous swing and seam movement. Australia, which he is visiting for the first time with the Test squad, doesn’t swing a lot but the pitches have plenty of bounce.

Even past bowlers of repute, having grown up on pitches with little for the pacers, have admitted to getting carried away by the lateral movement and bounce on surfaces and have generally struggled to exercise control over their lines and lengths and hence failing to make an impact. Bumrah is a rare Indian pacer who has managed to read the conditions in each of these three countries rather swiftly and has found immediate success.

His performance (3/47) during Australia’s first innings didn’t set the River Torrens on fire but for someone bowling in a Test for the first match, they were impressive and given that no bowler in this Test so far has taken more than three wickets in an innings though already 23 have wickets have fallen from either side. It was an affirmation of his uncanny knack to take wickets that has earned him 31 wickets, including the three here, at an average of 24.61 and a strike rate of just over 50 balls per wicket.      

While there’s no doubt that Bumrah is a talented bowler, his keen eye for observation and ability to absorb has seen him rise the ranks in a short period of time.

“There is no secret, obviously,” said Bumrah when asked about his ability to adapt quickly to different conditions. “I try to ask questions to players who have played here before, or wherever they have played. In England, when I was not playing, I was bowling in the nets, I was keeping an eye on what was happening. So, I try to copy that in the nets.

"In South Africa, I was consistently playing one-day cricket. I was bowling, there was a lot of overs under my belt. I always try to learn, I always try to ask questions. I try and keep an eye on the opposition as well; what is working for them, maybe try and learn from them. All these things always help you. Do your research, do your homework, keep an eye on the lengths of the different grounds and different players, what they do,” he explained.

Every bowler understands these formulae for success, but very few manage to imbibe them. Bumrah is one of those special few.