“I will forever be indebted to john wright”— Jasprit Bumrah

“I will forever be indebted to john wright”— Jasprit Bumrah

Very few pace bowlers have managed to impress Indian ODI & T20 captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in such a short span. However, Jaspreet Bumrah is exceptional in this regard and in his very first outing for Team India, he compelled Dhoni to term his performance in his debut series as “find of Australia tour”. Bumrah didn’t get carried away with his skipper’s profuse praise and continued to bowl in the same fashion on Indian wickets as well against the Sri Lankan team. Vimal Kumar recently spoke to Bumrah on his journey from Gujrat to the glory of international cricket. The excerpts:


You are being seen as the next big hope of Indian pace attack. You have had a fantastic start in Australia. You didn’t look overawed with the opposition or alien condition?
(smiles) Thank you. It’s always a nice feeling when you contribute in your team’s success. I wasn’t overawed because my team mates told me to treat the game as domestic game only.


If someone had told you a month back that you were going to play in the T20 world Cup, would you have believed him?

Definitely no. Forget making it to the World Cup squad, If someone had told me a couple of months back that I would be playing for India, I would have just smiled. But, yes it’s a dream come true.


In Australia, you went a day ahead from your schedule departure day and even if you were not part of the ODI team, you made it to the playing XI of the last ODI of the 5 match series, 24 hours after landing in Sydney. Wasn’t that unreal?

Honestly speaking, I was a bit nervous to start with but settled down quickly. Senior team members like Dhoni bhai and Virat advised me not to take any kind of extra pressure. It also helped that I had played with many international players in the IPL so it (the stage) wasn’t entirely surprising.


In one of the matches in Australia, senior bowler Ishant Shrama was asking for the same kind of field placement. TV footage showed that Ishant wanted the similar kind of field placements like yours. Was that pleasing to witness?
We had a plan as bowling group and it was just that he liked my field placements. Of course, you feel nice about this but as a youngster I try to learn as much as I can from my senior players.


Your thoughts on captain’s saying that you were the find of Australian tour?
He is a great player and obviously I was delighted to hear that kind of praise. I was trying to do everything he wanted me to do. It was a dream to share the dressing room with Mahi bhai which came true in Australia.


One of your Gujarat Ranji teammates told me that the team celebrated the news of your inclusion after Mohammad Shami was ruled out. However, just few hours later Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the replacement and not you. Did it hurt you? Did you think that you may not get an opportunity?
No, no. I was aware that I would get my chance. I wasn’t disheartened. I didn’t give up and I told myself that I will work even harder to get selected. It happens.


How much is the role of Mumbai Indians in shaping your career?
I am grateful to the franchise as they gave me my big break in the IPL. I have been playing for them for last 3 years. I played IPL before I could even play Ranji Trohpy for Gujrat. That definitely fast-tracked me into national reckoning. The exposure of IPL helped me tremendously and I think it will help me in future as well. More importantly, MI allowed me to play cricket with Sachin (Tendulkar) sir. Otherwise, it would have been impossible for me to share a dressing room with Sachin. Apart from Sachin, there were other great players in MI who taught me some valuable cricketing lessons.


There is always some talk surrounding your unusual action. Former India wicketkeeper Kiran More said that its god’s gift while many compare this with Laisth Malinga’s action. Did anyone ever tell you to modify your bowling action?
Fortunately, nobody ever asked me to change my action. They told me to stick to my natural action and back my strength. I have been to many cricket camps and also has a stint with MRF pace foundation in Chennai. None made an issue about my action. Yes, I was told to work on my physique. My action is different from Malinga but I am always in touch with him. Interaction with Malinga has helped me how to make most of my action.


Bowling yorkers at will, who has taught you this skill? Especially in Death Overs!
I have been doing this for my state side in domestic cricket. I used to be trusted by my captain (Parthiv Patel) during death overs and that gave me a lot of confidence to trust my skill. Later on, when I joined Mumbai Indians, Malinga taught me some more relevant things about bowling yorkers. Using your most lethal weapon judiciously is also important. It’s not easy bowling in death overs but I enjoy the challenge. Also I think because I started my cricket with tennis ball cricket where you are compelled to bowl yorkers often. Malinga told me about the importance of continuous practice and regularly working on this since it is very difficult to master the yorkers.


Are you also in regular touch with former Indian coach John Wright who was instrumental in giving you the real break in your career?
To be honest, I will forever be indebted to Wright. And, I tell him every time I meet him. I thanked him again (when I was picked for India). I have told him many times that he has played a pivotal role in my career. Whatever I have achieved or reached it’s because of him. Full credit to him since if he hadn’t come to watch that Mushtaq Ali tournament in Mumbai, I wouldn’t have played IPL so early and subsequently everything which has happened in my life perhaps would not have fallen in place so smoothly.


Sharing new ball with someone like Ashish Nehra who made his debut when you were not even five years old. I asked this question to him the other day and repeat the same to you. Your take?
Yes, we spoke about this age difference in Australia! He made his debut in Sri Lanka (1999) and I could never imagine that one day I would share the new ball with him. But, the good thing is that he has taught me some important lessons about bowling especially on not to make those mistakes which he did as a youngster.


Did you ever imagine that you will be part of the historic clean sweep (3-0) against Australia in T20 format?
When I joined the team for the 5th ODI we were trailing by 4-0 and in the team meeting it was being discussed that half the tour was still alive. We targeted last four games (1 ODI and 3 T20) to win and everyone motivated themselves. The fact that we went on to execute this thought was incredible.


In one of your early games in the IPL, you took Virat Kohli’s wicket and later on he blasted you. Did you have a chat on that when you met him in Australia?
(smiles) No, we didn’t discuss anything related to IPL. But, he told me a very important thing about international cricket. He asked me to always back myself and never lose confidence in one’s ability. I admire his attitude and he always comes with suggestion when I am bowling that in those situation what a batsman like him would be thinking or doing. This helps my bowling.


Who are your bowling heroes? Both from India and abroad.
Zaheer Khan is my hero and I have spent some valuable time with him in Mumbai Indians dressing room. Wasim Akram and Mitchell Johnson are two other bowlers I have looked up to learn many aspects of bowling.


Strange that you are a right arm pacer and your idols are left arm pacers!
(Smiles) It’s not about right or left arm. What I try to learn are the areas they worked on and their mindset in bowling to a particular batsman or in a particular situation. Also, I learn about their training methods and other things as well.


Finally, your thoughts on the upcoming Asia cup and World T20. Do you think this team can repeat the success of Australia?
We will try to do our best. Before the World Cup, there are some important series/tournaments which we would like to do well and then of course winning the World Cup at home will be the ultimate thing.

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