Flat Pitches or Not, Jasprit Bumrah Will Own ICC World Cup 2019
Since January 2017, Bumrah has picked up 37 wickets in death overs, the most by any ODI bowler, at an average of under 15.
Since January 2017, Bumrah has picked up 37 wickets in death overs, the most by any ODI bowler, at an average of under 15.(Photo: AP)

Flat Pitches or Not, Jasprit Bumrah Will Own ICC World Cup 2019

There are bowlers in world cricket, who rely heavily on the overhead conditions, the state of the ball, the surface and a slew of other factors, and even if one of these turn against them, it gets difficult for them to claim the all-important breakthroughs.

Then there are other bowlers, who don't give two hoots about the external factors. They are akin to a child playing in the backyard. Give him a ball and he will run in with all his strength and bowl with all his might, day in and day out.


Decoding the Genius

Jasprit Jasbirsingh Bumrah exudes a similar demeanour, whether he is bowling on a concrete road or a damp deck. It does not make a whole lot of difference to him, for he does not rely on the conditions as much.

Bumrah comes in with his characteristic short run-up and hits the deck hard to generate extra bounce. Plus, the awkward angle he creates, puts the batsmen in two minds.

Sanjay Mittal, an aerospace engineering professor at IIT-Kanpur, recently came up with a scientific explanation behind Bumrah's success. Mittal attributed his effectiveness to what he referred to as the reverse Magnus force.

“A downward force on a ball by Bumrah causes it to dip sharply, which batsmen find difficult to pick.”
Sanjay Mittal

Mittal found that Bumrah's speed, seam position and rotational speed of 1,000 RPM gives 0.1 spin ratio to the ball, which puts it into reverse Magnus effect regime.

Bumrah's Tryst With England

Till date Bumrah has played one-day internationals in England only once during the 2017 Champions Trophy. The Gujarat bowler was only 23-year-old then and it was his first year in the international cricket. The tournament went well for India, only to be spoiled by Pakistan in the final.

Bumrah, though, did not have great numbers to show and could manage only four wickets from five matches, at an average of over 50 and a strike of over 60. To add to his embarrassment, he bowled three no-balls in the final, including the one that (not really) got the wicket of centurion Fakhar Zaman in the fourth over.

Cut to 2019, Bumrah returns to England as the No. 1 ODI bowler. Since his last limited-overs appearance in England, he has picked up 89 wickets, from 591.2 overs across all formats at an average of 21.85 and an economy rate of 3.28, the most wickets by any Indian bowler.

At a time when 100 runs and more are being scored in last 10 overs for fun in the UK, here is a death specialist who barely concedes more than run-a-ball in the final overs. Not only does the slinger, bowl extremely tight overs but picks up wickets which turn the match on its head.

Since January 2017, Bumrah has picked up 37 wickets in death overs, the most by any ODI bowler, at an average of under 15.

After resting through India's tour of the trans-tasman nations, except the T20Is against Australia, Bumrah looked on song right from the first ball on his return to international cricket in the home series against Australia. With no signs of slowing down or lack of match practice, he was back in his stride and dished out match-winning performances.

In the recently concluded IPL as well, Bumrah showcased top-notch fitness and did not miss a single game, bagging 19 wickets from 16 matches.

Bumrah Magic Awaits

It is no wonder then that when Bumrah suffered a freak injury while trying to stop a ball in his follow through, during the first T20I against Ireland, India’s bowling struggled to stem the flow of runs on the Men in Blue's last tour of the UK. However, this time, the maestro is back and with him, back are our hopes of humbling England in their den.

“Bumrah was fantastic. He is the best bowler in the world. And the best is yet to come, hopefully,” said Sachin Tendulkar after Bumrah helped Mumbai Indians win their fourth IPL title. The best, as Sachin said, might be on display in the World Cup.

While other bowlers will be busy adjusting to the overhead conditions and the surface, all Bumrah will do is to come bustling with Wasim Akram's run-up, Shoaib Akhtar's hyperextension and Lasith Malinga's ingenuity, and produce what can only be called pure magic.

(Saksham Mishra is a freelance sports journalist, justifying hours of watching sports by scribbling down a few logical lines that might just about hold your interest. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)

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