Achiev­ing greater heights


AF­TER just one year as a Test crick­eter, Jasprit Bum­rah is be­ing her­alded as the best bowler in the world. But, to un­der­stand his suc­cess now, one has to trace his jour­ney back to Ahmed­abad, talk to his mother, friends and early coaches about this shy but de­ter­mined boy who loved only cricket.

More than a decade ago Bum­rah was a boy, he has now be­come a house­hold name. The 25year-old pacer ran through the Aus­tralians in Mel­bourne, has al­ready pock­eted quite a few records. In just one year of play­ing tests, he has taken 48 wick­ets, and has left many bats­men sleep­less nights.

Though Bum­rah has done quite well in South Africa and Eng­land in early 2018, it was his nine wicket haul in the box­ing day test that pro­pelled him to great heights. The Cap­tain him­self called him the best bowler in the world and sev­eral ex­perts had his name on their lips.

Bum­rah started play­ing cricket in his early teens at Nir­man High School in Ahmed­abad. His mother, Daljit, also worked there, and is cur­rently prin­ci­pal of the pre-pri­mary sec­tion. Kishore Trivedi and Ke­tul Puro­hit, two of his early coaches, spot­ted tal­ent in him. “His only pas­sion and bowl­ing was a God-given gift”, says Puro­hit. The coach re­mem­bers how bats­men would un­der­es­ti­mate Bum­rah be­cause of his short run up.”, he says. “And, if they started ad­just­ing to that, then it was dif­fi­cult to judge his nat­u­ral in-swing.”

Bum­rah’s mother did not dis­suade him, but she set one con­di­tion. “I told him that his stud­ies were im­por­tant and he should have a breakup plan”, she says. He was an av­er­age stu­dent, she added, but would al­ways com­plete his home work be­fore go­ing for prac­tice twice a day. By the time Bum­rah reached class eight, his tal­ent be­came ev­i­dent. “He would go for se­lec­tion, tri­als and matches, and would be se­lected ev­ery­where. This made him re­alise that there was some­thing in him”, she says.

Bum­rah’s school prin­ci­pal, Leena, re­mem­bers him as a sober, well-be­haved boy. “He was con­tent with what he was do­ing”, she says. He was not a top ranker, but a lit­tle above av­er­age. He was re­served, and would not go out of his way to talk to some­one. “Such was his na­ture that no­body ever com­plained about him. He was a pic­ture of pa­tience and en­durance”, she says, adding that the en­durance took him to next level.

He was a nat­u­ral, say his coaches. He bowled first, and learnt fast. A pa­tient lis­tener, he also worked hard on his field­ing. He knew he would have to do so to get into In­dian side one day. Says Hitesh Ma­j­mu­dar, coach of the Gu­jarat Ranji team: “Ear­lier, Bum­rah was not good at field­ing. But now you can trust that he will ever mis­field or drop a catch.”

Says cricket leg­end Sachin Ten­dulkar, Bum­rah is a com­plete blower. He has got an in-swinger, out-swinger, Yorker and a sharp short pitched ball. He also bowls re­verse swing and, on top of that has a bril­liant slower ball. I think am­mu­ni­tion wise, he has got plenty and that can be dan­ger­ous. For­mer Aus­tralian crick­eter Brad Hodge said Bum­rach is a night­mare to face. “If you ask any bats­man, he is one of the most dan­ger­ous bowlers”, says Hodge. “He is quick, very ac­cu­rate and moves the ball both ways”.

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