Indian cricket’s prized asset, paceman Jasprit Bumrah, got a much-deserved break after the 2019 World Cup as he was rested for the limited-overs series against West Indies, which gets underway in Florida on Saturday (August 2).
On Friday, he bagged the 2019 Youth Icon award at the ‘Forbes India 30 Under 30’ event in Mumbai and sat down for a brief chat with Network18’s Group Sports Editor Gaurav Kalra about his remarkable journey in international cricket.
The entire country feels that Bumrah, the no. 1-ranked ODI bowler, needs to be wrapped up in cotton-wool and preserved well to increase his longevity and feel that the paceman is one of the country’s two national assets along with skipper Virat Kohli.
“It always feels good when people appreciate you. It feels good to be loved by the people of this country,” Bumrah said in Mumbai on Friday (August 2).
“I don’t know about being a national asset but it has been a long season with the IPL and World Cup and it was good to get a two-week break before I join the squad for the Test series,” he said about being rested for the ODIs and T20s against West Indies.
The 25-year-old has made a remarkable start in international cricket. 49 wickets in 10 Tests at an average of 21.89 and 103 scalps in 58 ODIs at an average of 21.88 make him one of the premier bowlers in the world in all formats of the game.
“The best thing is that as a team we are happy as a bunch. The start has been a good one for me but the journey is still long,” he said.
Bumrah has a unique bowling action which is now being emulated all around the globe by people in all age groups.
“As a kid, I used to watch a lot of cricket on TV and tried to emulate bowling actions of all the top bowlers in the world. So everyday when I went out to play it was a new bowling action. There is no better feeling when kids are emulating your bowling action because I used to do that when I was growing up,” he said.
Bumrah recalled watching a 70-year-old lady emulating his action on Instagram and how it brought a smile to his face.
“The video actually made my day. We were coming back to India after a tough World Cup campaign. Watching this brought a smile on my face,” the Gujarat paceman said.
His unique action and accurate yorkers make him one of the most dangerous bowlers in the world in all three formats of the game. Bumrah credit Sri Lankan paceman Lasith Malinga for showing him the importance of the delivery.
“I started playing cricket with the tennis ball and the most useful delivery then to pick up wickets was the yorkers, so I stuck to that. When I came to IPL and played in the same team with Malinga, he showed me the importance of bowling accurate yorkers. I think I am decent with the delivery but I want to get better,” a modest Bumrah said.
The Mumbai Indians speedster gave a sneak peek into the banter that goes on with the Indian team during the practice sessions although it culminated in all-rounder Vijay Shankar getting injured during the World Cup.
“It was an unfortunate incident but no one tells the batsman not to hit the ball hard. I have spoken to Shankar about it and told him he needed to improved certain aspects of his technique,” Bumrah said with a smile.
The youngster is quick to pull the leg of his skipper Kohli as well in the nets. “It is all in good humour. When we bowlers bat in the nets, the batsmen make fun of us and we do the same when the batsmen try to come and bowl during the match,” he said.
Finally, asked about the importance of Test cricket for Bumrah, he said, “Like I said, growing up I used to watch a lot of cricket on TV and I used to watch a lot of Tests. My aim is to play as many Tests as possible because that’s the pinnacle for me. In my book, I rate Test cricket very highly.”