When Jasprit Bumrah was just a boy, he knew his mother would scold him if he bowled inside the home. He couldn’t help himself but. In some ways, it even helped him develop the yorker as he would target the tile — the floor skirting— as it would make the least sound. “Daant toh padti thi bahut aur kitna bhi karein aawaz toh aana hi tha!”
When Bumrah ended up playing for India, he made his names with those yorkers but was tagged as a limited-overs specialist. He can choke up runs and surprise batsmen at times with the skiddy pace and the bounce he generates, but the tag remained. On Wednesday, he achieved his best first-class wicket haul — 6-for to propel Gujarat to a Ranji final after 83 years. Set to chase 235, Jharkhand were shot out for 111.
The man responsible for it, Bumrah, should be elated. He should be trumpeting his perception-demolishing breakthrough season, but is unsurprisingly muted. And calm. “I wasn’t bothered too much about those perceptions,” Bumrah tells The Indian Express on what was an epic day for Gujarat.
“I have played for India at such an early age and I know what I am capable of and what I need to do. Yes, I have been focusing on all-round improvement this season, and so glad that it has all come well for the sake of the team. We are now in the final, and what better reward for all the hard work.”
It’s been quite a season for Gujarat as their batsman have done a fabulous job — from Samit Gohel to Priyank Panchal to Manpreet Juneja — and the baton was passed to the bowlers. Luckily for Gujarat, Bumrah and RP Singh were up for the job.
Juneja added 82 runs with Chirag Gandhi, and made 81 himself to ensure the bowlers had a decent total to bowl with.
“It was a very important partnership. We were just hoping that we can get a decent total so that we can do something and Juneja and Gandhi did it for us.” From then on, it was upto RP Singh and Bumrah, The former set the tone with a probing first spell that read 5-5-0-1.
Bumrah knew his job had become simpler after that. Relatively speaking that is. “When the pressure was maintained like that, I decided to stick to what we had planned — the lines and lengths, and use the red soil bounce to the fullest.” And let the pressure take its toll on Jharkhand.
“It has been a very special season for us. We didn’t qualify last two years — based on net run rate we would miss out. There was a lot of hard work and as a team, we really wanted to do well. Here, we knew there was bounce as it is red soil. So one has to tailor the bowling accordingly. Try to get bounce from a fuller length rather than bowling too short. There was good carry and it played its part. The ball moved a bit too.”
Bumrah says he wasn’t too fussed about the perception of being a limited-overs specialist. “My dream was to play cricket and wherever I play if I can enjoy and do well, it would only be good for me. As a bowler, I wanted to improve overall and use what I have learnt from my India experience. And I think I have done it this season.
It’s a very big achievement for Gujarat. The fact that we came back after conceding the first-innings lead here says much about how confident we have felt this season. Our last game was postponed and then point shared and stuff, but we had already qualified for the knockouts in the seven games itself. That also gave us a lot of confidence. The entire team was focused and really eager to do well, and it feels great that we have reached the finals.” But that doesn’t mean Bumrah is about to indulge himself.
“Celebrate kya? Nothing big. My next focus is the final and try to carry on bowling well. It would look silly if I celebrate now and relax before the big game.”