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India vs South Africa: Intense In Training, Intense In-Game - Bumrah's Secret to Success

Karthik Lakshmanan |June 7, 2019, 8:53 AM IST
India vs South Africa: Intense In Training, Intense In-Game - Bumrah's Secret to Success

Southampton: The top two things one associates with Jasprit Bumrah are perhaps the yorkers and the slower balls. An under-rated part of his armoury, (his back of length skidders) was on display in India's victory over South Africa in their World Cup opener on Wednesday.

Bumrah's nippy skidders destroyed South Africa right from his first over, when he beat Quinton de Kock thrice. In his second over, he had Hashim Amla nicking to second slip. Virat Kohli later said he has never seen Amla being rushed for pace and dismissed in that manner. It made Kohli switch to third slip, and Bumrah found de Kock's edge in the next over with one that angled away from that length. Kohli said the pain he felt after taking the catch made him realise how quick Bumrah was.

In other words, Bumrah had seen there was a bit of help for pacers early on, and switched to Test match mode.

"When on a wicket like this you get help – there was a little bit of seam movement – you can sometimes be tempted to try too many things," Bumrah explained after the game. "At that time, you must realise that you don’t need to do too many things, just bowling Test match type of bowling, be patient when you are getting help. That’s what we try to adopt; we are getting help from the wicket, so automatically the results will come."

It helped that Kohli too switched to Test match mode, backing his bowler. Not often do teams have three slips in place in one-day cricket, but Kohli recognised the need for one quickly and was rewarded.

"Bumrah believes the length ball is something that he can nick people off with, whether it is a flat pitch, whether it's assisting bowlers or not," Kohli said in the press conference after the win. "He can nick you off on any wicket and he has that belief now. As a batsman, I know when a bowler has that kind of belief, he is not going to do anything different to me, he is going to bowl consistently and still can get me out with good balls.

"So as I said, the way he's bowling right now, it's so, so good to see because you see batsmen literally clueless against him and he's rushing people. To be honest, I haven't seen Hashim get out like that in one-day cricket. He's been so dominant. He might play shots and get out, but to get guys out like that, rushing them a bit, I think it's a great thing and it's a testimony to his hard work. He is very disciplined. He is working really hard at practice, in the gym, with his diet, with his rest. He understands this is his time and he's making the most of it so hats off, he's brilliant."

Practice, diet, rest... these are the 'processes' that all members of the Indian team often talk about. Bumrah too said there was no rocket science behind his success, explaining that his work behind the scenes helped him perform on the field.

"There is a lot of hard work that goes behind the cameras. I do all my sessions, be it bowling with the new ball, be it practicing all my variations. I want to do all my preparations before coming into a game. If I have done everything, in the match it is all about execution and keeping a clear head space, and that’s very important," he said. "You try to tick all boxes. Be it your diet, be it hard work, you always try to stick to a plan, try and tick all boxes so that in that, it helps you to be in a very good space.

"Most of the times, I don’t think about expectations. I don’t think about all of those things. I just think about what the team requires me to do right now. On this given situation, I was just thinking what does the team require me to do right now. I don’t think I have a reputation to live up to and I have to do all of these things. Just try to keep things simple, focus on the processes. If you tick all of the boxes, everything else will fall in place."

Bumrah might not be concerned about his reputation, but chances are that the two-wicket burst in the first game could well be a sign of things to come in the tournament. He rushed Amla for pace, made de Kock look like a fish out of water, and even had Faf du Plessis dancing around. How do batsmen tackle Bumrah? Kohli, possibly the best batsman in the game now, had a tip or two while explaining Bumrah's intensity in preparation.

"Well, one thing you know with facing Jasprit is you have to play good cricketing shots against him and you have to back your technique," he said. "Because if you are hesitant a little bit, he senses that and he's all over you. If he senses someone's not enjoying the short ball in the net, he will make sure that guy gets it in that session.

"So what you see him bowling in the match, he bowls exactly like that to us in the nets. He doesn't care who is standing in front of him. He will bounce people, he will try to get people bowled, he will york people with the new ball and that's the reason for his consistency. He doesn't change his game because he's in the nets compared to the game.

"He goes in with match intensity. He will do short and sharp, but those 15 minutes you have to make sure you are on top of your game otherwise it can be trouble. So he keeps all the batsmen really focused on what they need to do which is a back-and-forth thing. For a batsman, it's beautiful to face a guy like that who bowls with match intensity and he's looking to get you out, so when you play well against him you walk out with more confidence."

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Cricket World Cup Points Table

5 4 1 0 8 +0.81
4 3 0 1 7 +2.16
4 3 0 1 7 +1.02
4 3 1 0 6 +1.55
5 1 2 2 4 -1.77
4 1 2 1 3 +0.66
5 1 3 1 3 -0.20
4 1 2 1 3 -0.71
5 1 3 1 3 -1.93
4 0 4 0 0 -1.63

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 5720 124
2 India 5990 122
3 New Zealand 4121 114
4 South Africa 4647 111
5 Australia 4805 109
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more