Why Test cricket has made Bumrah even more dangerous: Irfan Pathan explains


Jasprit Bumrah is getting quicker and more dangerous with every match he plays for India. The tearaway speedster, who has troubled batsmen the world across, started with a bang in the shorter formats but is now a force to reckon with in Test cricket as well.

After making his debut in Tests against South Africa last year, Jasprit Bumrah became the first Asian pacer to take 5-wicket hauls in South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies. In just 12 Tests, Bumrah has picked up as many as 62 wickets – in fact, he ended the West Indies tour with 5-wicket hauls in 3 successive hauls.

Much before Jasprit Bumrah made a foray into the Test side, Shane Bond and Ricky Ponting had predicted the young pacer would make his mark in the longest format of the game. Bond and Ponting had worked with Bumrah at Mumbai Indians and they had seen enough – Jasprit Bumrah was ready to take the world by storm.

Now, Irfan Pathan, one of only 3 Indians including Bumrah and Harbhajan Singh to take a hat-trick in Test cricket, said Bumrah has become even sharper now thanks to his exposure in Test cricket.

“He has developed the away swinger while playing international cricket. And now he bowls it with greater control. That’s thanks to Test cricket. When you play Test cricket, you are exposed to the challenge of bowling in different situations – with the new ball, in the second session with the old ball, again with different balls in the final session.

“It comes down to at least three to four spells in a day. That’s how you learn so much about yourself. Yes, you have coaches to guide you but as a bowler, you learn to use your own brain. That’s what we see with Bumrah,” Irfan told India Today.

In the Antigua Test, Jasprit Bumrah blew the West Indies away with a spell that read 8-4-5-7. In the following Test in Jamaica, Bumrah became the 3rd Indian to record a hat-trick in Test cricket.

In the same test match, a Bumrah bouncer that hit Darren Bravo forced West Indies to summon a concussion substitute.

All this was built on the strength of new found control over his away swinger which he utilised more regularly than ever before. For a bowler whose quick-arm action is difficult to read, an out swinging delivery bowled with a short run-up undid the batsmen consistently in West Indies.

Irfan Pathan spots a notable improvement in the Jasprit Bumrah we see now as opposed to the one who first started out in international cricket. “Earlier when he first came into international cricket, he used to fall a little to the left side. Now he is more upright, so he is in better balance. That’s how he has been able to move the ball both ways. That’s his biggest strength as well. The other good thing is his action hasn’t changed at all. When your action is repeated again and again, you become a master of your art,” he says.

All the greats of the game have predicted Bumrah to touch greatness himself. Anil Kumble had said Bumrah would become India’s greatest ever fast bowler while the inimitable Viv Richards famously said he would rather face Lillee than Bumrah.

Irfan Pathan says Bumrah makes the Indian bowling attack look that much better. “Now he is the best bowler in the world. Even if the rankings did not say so. To be able to bowl with this pace with such a short run up, he is more effective.

“He is someone who bowls with the old ball, new ball, white ball, red ball, against set batsman or the new one with the same sharpness. We are very lucky to have this kind of bowler in our ranks. He makes the bowling unit look that much better,” Irfan said.

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