At 24, Jasprit Bumrah Has Dealt With Both Success and Failure
Life as an international cricketer can be a seesaw ride.
Jasprit Bumrah must have understood this well over the last few months. From the highs of being the go-to bowler, at least in the shorter format, to being the villain for bowling the infamous no ball in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan. Bumrah has seen it all.
That fateful no ball gave an early life to Fakhar Zaman who went on to hammer the Indian bowling, and scored a magnificent hundred. The rest was history.
More often than not, in a high voltage game, fans often forget that the match was played for 100 overs. And the one over they remember is just that – one over of the match. More importantly, they forget that the other team must have played well to beat India.
It was that sort of day when Pakistan out batted, out bowled, and out fielded India. So, it wasn’t just one mistake committed by Bumrah that cost the match, but a series of mistakes as a team that eventually decided the fate of the match.
At times, such incidents prove to be a serious test of character. Many a player take these off the field distractions a little too seriously and lose their way.
However, Bumrah isn’t cut from the same cloth and must have realised the perils of the social media age that needs a new hero and villain every day. On that day, Bumrah was the villain. He was trolled and trolled badly. He is relatively new to Twitter and he got to know its side-effects well.
He was accused of betrayal and things reached a point where Jaipur police used his no ball example for traffic rule awareness (they apologised later).
However, all this made Bumrah wiser and stronger. He learnt not to take the medium seriously. One should neither get excited when he is trending and nor get frustrated when he is trolled, for every trend and troll has a shelf life!
Good thing though that despite being just 23, Jasprit Bumrah is not new to fame or its side-effects. He plays for one of the most followed and passionate IPL teams, Mumbai Indians, and has dealt with such situations in the past.
Bumrah is a little shy but always sure about himself. He has amazing belief in his ability. He wouldn’t have reached this far without it, especially with his unorthodox slinging action. His bowling action that’s got him this far must have been criticised during his early years. Some would have even asked him to change it, much like how Harbhajan Singh was under constant pressure as a junior cricketer to change his action and become more conventional. Just like Harbhajan, Bumrah has had the guts to ignore the noise and stick to his style.
The best thing that happened to Bumrah was that when he joined Mumbai Indians, he had the shining example of Lasith Malinga to emulate. With similarities ranging from their actions to areas of expertise to bowling in pressure situations, Malinga helped Bumrah find his way and nurtured him.
Just take one look at Bumrah’s cricket journey so far and he comes across as an extremely mature and responsible young boy who has dealt with success and failure with a very stoic approach. In the dressing room or on the field, he is neither too excited nor solemnly dejected. On the contrary, if you watch him carefully on the field, whether he is going for runs or taking wickets, his approach to his run-up never changes.
At most times it’s hard to read what he is going through.
This is a quality which has helped him quickly recover from his no ball fiasco and start doing what he does best. Fifteen wickets in five matches against Sri Lanka at a strike rate of 17.3 and his first five-wicket haul in international cricket are a testimony to his talent and capacity to fight back. Obviously, the faith of team management and captain Virat Kohli has helped him immensely.
India is very lucky to have a gem like Bumrah, our very own Malinga who can crush toes and trick the batsmen with well-disguised slow bouncers. In the current scheme of things, he remains an extremely important cog in the wheel of Kohli’s team.
(Nishant Arora is an award-winning cricket journalist, and most recently, the media manager of the Indian Cricket Team. He also co-authored the best-selling book on Yuvraj Singh’s battle with cancer.
(This article was first published on 9 September 2017 and is being reposted from The Quint’s archives after Jasprit Bumrah’s performance in Mumbai Indians’ IPL 2018 match against Kings XI Punjab.)
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