Jasprit Bumrah shows why 'there is no ego in T20 cricket' | Crickit
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Jasprit Bumrah shows why 'there is no ego in T20 cricket'

Apr 13, 2024 12:43 AM IST

As mesmerising as the Jasprit Bumrah's skills are, the key lies in the manner in which he uses them.

He had already won us over. In a match that saw nearly 400 runs scored and the rest of the bowlers return with an average economy rate of 11.80, he picked a five-wicket haul and went at just 5.25. As if that spell wasn’t enough, though, Jasprit Bumrah cast another one to close out the night. This time, with the microphone in his hand.

Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah celebrates(AFP)
Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah celebrates(AFP)

Having picked up the player of the match award for helping Mumbai Indians defeat Royal Challengers Bengaluru at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, the 30-year-old was asked by Sanjay Manjrekar if he had any tips for others in the IPL who have the arduous task of bowling at the death. Although his default reaction to praise is always one of humility, Bumrah went a bit further this time and offered some sincere advice.

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“I do my research and see where the batter is strong,” he said. “Sometimes, the wicket is sticky and you don’t need to bowl a yorker, you can bowl a bouncer or a slower ball. So, you don’t need to use all your tricks in one day. You have to understand where the game is going and what kind of a wicket it is. There is no ego in T20 cricket. Even if you bowl at 145 kpmh, if the wicket demands slower balls, you have to bowl them. You can’t be a one-track pony and just aim at the stumps and go bowled-hunting.”

Manjrekar, beaming by now, could only manage to say, “Thanks very much for that insight.”

That Bumrah has unparalleled bowling skills isn’t news; he has long established himself as an all-format champion. In IPL 2024, he began with figures of 3/14 against Gujarat Titans, which included the key wickets of Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan and David Miller. In the record-breaking match against Sunrisers Hyderabad that saw his team get hammered for 277 runs, he went at just nine an over. He then returned with 0/26 against Rajasthan Royals, before helping MI beat Delhi Capitals for their first win with figures of 2/22.

And then came the RCB game, where all the momentum he has gathered resulted in a devastating spell. The highly-anticipated battle with Virat Kohli was won in just three balls, without a run conceded, as the former India skipper got an inside edge to a ball that nipped in. A well-set Faf du Plessis miscued a low, fast full-toss. Mahipal Lomror was left with a painful foot as he received a sizzling yorker first up. And the inexperience duo of Saurav Chauhan and Vijaykumar Vyshak had no answer to the sharp bouncers they were dealt.

"He (Bumrah) runs in with the same action, bowls a fast yorker, and then with that exact same action he bowls a slower ball that probably has the biggest variation,” said RCB captain du Plessis after the match. “Then he has a really good bouncer. He has got so many options. You know you can bring him on and he can get you that wicket, but he can also be defensive when needed.”

That sense of awe, and hint of jealously in du Plessis was unmissable. He even admitted it would’ve been nice to have Bumrah in his side. The right-arm pacer, possibly at the peak of his powers at the moment, does have a plethora of options at his disposal. He’s a wicket-taking threat when opponents are on the offensive and even when they’re content to play him out. It’s as if he can set up a batter and dismiss him at will.

As mesmerising as Bumrah’s skills are, though, the key lies in the manner in which he uses them. As he suggested to Manjrekar in the post-match interaction, the trick lies in reading situations. What truly sets him apart is that he manages to outsmart the best batters in the world. He goes the extra mile in preparation and, in a way, makes his own luck.

“You have to have bad days to learn from them," said Bumrah. "What I have done in the past is that whenever I've had a bad day, I've seen the videos with a calm mind the nest day. What didn’t work? why did it not work? What is the way I've been playing? So all of these things, you have to be with the curve because nowadays you just cannot come on the day and say okay, I'll do this, maybe this will work.

"For me, preparation is always the key. When you prepare hard, you put yourself under pressure in the nets, you bowl to batters who can hit big sixes. You bowl to them, you see how you react to stress, you see how you react to pressure. Then you find start finding answers. It is very, very important for me to keep pushing myself in training. Then on game day you have answers that, okay, when I had similar pressure in training, I had answers."

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