Team India pacer Jasprit Bumrah made a memorable return to the venue of his Test debut, claiming his seventh five-wicket haul in the first innings in Cape Town. India were in big trouble in the match after the batters faltered again, and the visitors managed only 223 batting first, which could have been worse but for captain Virat Kohli’s 79. However, Bumrah brought India back in the contest, claiming 5 for 42 in 23.3 overs. Thanks to his brilliant bowling spell, the hosts were restricted to 210 as India gained a slender first-innings lead of 13. In the wake of Bumrah’s excellent bowling effort, we analyze five reasons that make him dangerous.
1. He is a champion at outsmarting the batters: This is one of his biggest assets. Bumrah, on most occasions, seems to be one step ahead of the batters. He is gifted with a sharp brain and is very good at reading the batters’ minds. He can set them up by changing angles, going wide of the crease, or varying his pace. More often than not, he is successful at winning the mental battle against the guys with the willow in hand. This is why he is so dangerous. After all, cricket is played in mind as much as it is played on the field.
2. He is at the batters all the time: His unwavering accuracy is another of Bumrah’s biggest positives. Even when he is not getting wickets, the speedster rarely gives runs away. As a result, the pressure is mostly on the batters when Boom Boom is at the bowling crease. And once he gets among the wickets, it is like a double whammy for the opposition. They haven’t made much progress regarding runs, and the loss of wickets, too, starts to hurt them. Something similar happened in the first innings in Cape Town as Bumrah conceded only 42 runs for his five-for in 23.3 overs.
3. Bumrah loves a challenge thrown at him: Fast bowlers love to be challenged, and Bumrah is no different. We all saw how the battle with fast bowling legend James Anderson inspired him to come up with an exceptional show in England. He wanted to make a point in no uncertain terms. This was clear in his body language as well as bowling spells. Something similar has been happening in the ongoing series as well. His duel with young South African pacer Marco Jansen has been fascinating. After cleaning him up in the first innings, the way he stared at the youngster made for great viewing.
4. He fights back harder after a poor game: Bumrah has also had his off days like all other humans. First, in the World Test Championship (WTC) final, he looked completely ineffective against New Zealand’s batters. Then in the Johannesburg Test against South Africa, he again came up with an insipid effort. On both occasions, though, he answered critics with fiery performances in the subsequent Test matches. He claimed nine wickets in the Trent Bridge Test against England while the Wanderers low was followed with the high of Newlands.
5. Bumrah is always looking to improve his game: A talented player mostly manages to taste success at the start of his career. The opponents are unaware of his gifts, and the player can take full advantage of that. But what separates the good from the great is how effective they are once the world knows of their ability. In other words, how much they can improve and modify their game to keep the opponents guessing. Bumrah, too got off to a fantastic start. However, there came a time when critics claimed he had become too predictable and his success in Test cricket would be short-lived. Bumrah proved them wrong. And, the way he is progressing, it seems, he will keep doing so.