Jasprit Bumrah, who was ruled out of the ODI series against Sri Lanka just a day before the first match, will also miss out on the next white ball series against New Zealand and the first two tests against Australia for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy next month. After concluding their ODI series against Sri Lanka, India will face New Zealand in a three-match ODI and a three-match T20I series in the second half of January 2023. Then will take on Australia at home. This is undoubtedly bad news for the Indian cricket team and the fans.
The 29-year-old has not featured in the Indian squad since September 2022. With such a big layoff and constant ups and downs in his recovery, the question arises, “Could his career be cut short due to his injuries.”
As we approach the upcoming ODI World Cup, Jasprit Bumrah is not fit to play, and the obstacles in his path are not cleared. Back problems are not new to him, but his current injury has been his biggest foe.
The unorthodox high-arm action, short run-up, and the physical strain at the point of release could be the issues that are making him injury prone. Andy Roberts said,” It was the strangest action I have seen on a cricket field.” Shoaib Akhtar also stated, “His bowling is based on his frontal action. Players with that action bowl with their backs and shoulder speed. We used to be side-on, and that used to compensate (for the pressure on the back). A front-on action has no compensation, and with that action, when the back gives in, you can’t escape it irrespective of how much you try.”
In 2019, while facing the West Indies in a Test series, Bumrah became the third Indian bowler to take a hat-trick alongside Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan. However, after returning home, it became known that Bumrah started having back problems, the first time so severe that he later missed his potential first Test series at home against South Africa and the series against Bangladesh. He then went to the UK to get treatment for a stress fracture in his lower back.
He was then told to prove his form and fitness in the Ranji Trophy for Gujarat before returning to the Indian team, but the Gujrat team management opted to rest him. Bumrah did not play for three months and returned to the tour of New Zealand in early 2020.
And now, in August 2022, he was diagnosed with back spasms. Jasprit missed the Asia Cup squad as he was treated at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. After nearly a month of rehabilitation, he was declared fit and was included in the Indian squad for the home series against Australia and South Africa and also in the 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup. He missed the first game against Australia but returned for the next two games before missing the opening match against South Africa after a ‘niggle’, as Rohit Sharma quoted at the toss.
The BCCI later said Bumrah suffered “back pain” during India’s training session the day before the match and was rushed to Bengaluru for more scans. Later he was ruled out from the rest of the series and also missed T20 World Cup in Australia.
This is the latest injury setback for Bumrah and India, as he was in a raiding mode against England during the UK tour in July. He captained the team in the one-off test match in the absence of Rohit Sharma, who tested positive for COVID-19. In this test, he scored 35 runs in an over off Stuart Broad breaking the 18-year-old record of most runs in an over in tests set by Brian Lara.
We have seen that in the case of Jasprit Bumrah’s action- the thing that sets him apart is also the factor that has put him on the sidelines. He needs to correct or render his action in a way that would give him the best results and not constantly hurt him. Due to this issue, all experts and the audience have repeatedly judged his longevity. He is a great talent who has proved himself in all three formats, but his absence has affected the Indian cricket team in 2022. With the failures in the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup, every fan was missing Bumrah.
In the past, stress fractures or back problems were common to pacers, but even with advances in modern sports science, it remains a problem for players like Bumrah. The experts have cited many reasons for his injuries, ranging from inappropriate exercise and training regimens to poor workload management. But Bumrah’s action often sparks a debate about his longevity as a player of all formats.
In 2022, he played 5 Tests and 5 ODIs and featured in only 15 matches for India but played in 14 games in the IPL. This suggests that BCCI and the team management must handle the workload of such players so that they shall be available and fit during the major ICC events, as Bumrah is an important asset to the Indian cricket team.
In July 2022, Bumrah became the number-one ranked bowler in Tests, and later that month, he was the number-one ranked bowler in ODIs as well. Even after 6 months of inactivity, he is currently ranked third in red-ball cricket. It will be a shame if this situation is not handled with care, as India and the cricketing world would miss out on a world-class bowler who has bowled promptly, is effective in challenging situations, and is known to guide his team to victory whenever he bowls.