Bumrah’s celebrated artistry to break new ground for Indian cricket
Jasprit Bumrah winning the best men’s cricketer is hugely significant for India.
The fast bowler was the recipient of the Polly Umrigar Award earlier this week, breaking Virat Kohli’s four-year stranglehold on the prize.
Bumrah was in phenomenal form in Test cricket in the 2018/19 season, taking 21 wickets in India’s historic 2-1 series victory in Australia before 12 wickets at a staggering 9.23 in two Tests in the Caribbean, including a hat-trick.
He also has a very good World Cup, taking 18 wickets in nine matches at an average of 20.61 and an economy of 4.41.
It’s been a breakthrough year for a bowler we thought had already broken through. If Bumrah’s skill was apparent before, it’s now slapping us repeatedly round the face, in every format of the game in high pressure situations. Despite lacking the experience of Ishant Sharma or Mohammed Shami, at 26, Bumrah is the leader of the Indian pace bowlers. A unit that has now added a consistent third dimension with which to attack, alongside the batting excellence and spin dominance that has made up the Indian arsenal for decades.
In a nation where batsmen – from Gavaskar to Tendulkar through to Kohli – totally occupy the cricketing consciousness and reach unfathomable heights of fandom, Bumrah has achieved unparalleled recognition for his fast bowling exploits.
While Kapil Dev will likely feature near the top of any list of the greatest Indian cricketers of all time, the all-rounder will be surrounded by a sea of batsmen, with a distant spinner Anil Kumble perhaps his closest bowling companion.
And in the current Indian team, it’s often century-laden Rohit Sharma or ODI master Virat Kohli that receive the plaudits – and rightly so. But now it’s just as often Bumrah – ambling up to the crease, all angles and straight arms, firing down 90mph yorkers from nowhere – that makes the headlines and has fans chanting his name in unison from the stands.
This is new ground for Indian cricket – a fast bowling role model receiving the acclaim from the masses. And while he is yet to reach the same stratosphere of fandom as Tendulkar, MS Dhoni or Kohli – heights of notoriety that even the top-billed Premier League footballers couldn’t imagine – Bumrah is the first fast-bowling cricketing celebrity.
And in a sport where your heroes have as much of an effect on the way in which you practice and play the game as any, this is hugely significant for India’s future. It’s no wonder the national team have had so many wonderful batsmen in the last 30 years with the likes of Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, and Sunil Gavaskar before them, to emulate. Young Indians of the past will have been endlessly shadow batting the Tendulkar straight drive, a Rahul Dravid forward defensive, even a Dhoni helicopter.
But now, as well as the inevitable millions attempting a lofted Kohli cover drive, there will be a few having a go at the Bumrah slower ball – which is a scary thought.
Will Ford is on Twitter
Kisma News: Hardik Pandya’s reasoning for excluding Umran Malik and Sanju Samson
Going into the T20I series against New Zealand, most Indian fans expected bench players would be given more significant opportunities…
Jofra Archer determined to keep playing Test cricket for England
After an 18-month injury nightmare, the fast bowler is two days into his comeback match in Abu Dhabi.
Glenn McGrath concerned over ODI cricket’s future after seeing almost-empty MCG
Just over 4,000 fans attended Australia’s third ODI against England.
Kisma News: Mohammed Siraj did his best to cement his place in Team India against New Zealand
India’s tour of New Zealand was a series that served little to no purpose for either side except for keeping up bilateral ties…
Jon Lewis: England are ready to grow wings and fly
Lewis was appointed as Lisa Keightley’s replacement last week.
Jofra Archer back in action as Lions warm-up England Test team for Pakistan tour
Archer has not played competitively for 18 months due to longstanding elbow problems and a stress fracture of the lower back.
Teenage leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed added to England squad for Pakistan Test tour
The 18-year-old could become England’s youngest ever men’s Test cricketer if selected in Rawalpindi, Multan or Karachi.
Matthew Mott believes Dawid Malan can make his way into World Cup defence
Malan was one of the few positives to emerge from England’s 3-0 ODI series whitewash defeat to Australia.
Justin Langer hits out at ‘cowards’ in Australia squad for media leaks
Langer departed in February after being offered only a six-month contract extension.
Flat finish and schedule strife – what we learnt from Australia vs England ODI series?
The T20 World Cup champions suffered a 3-0 loss to Australia.