Bumrah: The bowling eyeball grabber in batters’ IPL

Jasprit Bumrah and Rohit Sharma for MI (PC: X)

Simplicity is one of the greatest draws in times when complexities are commonplace. That is the reason Jasprit Bumrah will have a lot of cricket fans tracking his bowling in the Indian Premier League 2024, notwithstanding the enormous support that batters will have through the competition.

Bumrah is among those who dare to alter the lambs-to-slaughter perception that fans usually have of the bowlers in the shortest format of the game. And that is a good enough reason for us to sit back and admire him, as he backs himself to deliver the goods for his team in IPL 2024.

It would not be wrong to say that his bowling is reminiscent of the earthy simplicity that Virender Sehwag brought to the batting crease. Just as Sehwag did not change anything in his batsmanship in any format, Bumrah bowls with the same purpose and intensity. Indeed, there is romanticism in his simple approach, no matter which format he is called upon to bowl in.

It is certainly a batter’s game, isn’t it, cricket? And, by all accounts, the T20 format makes it worse for the bowler. It is with a great awareness of this bleak backdrop, with odds stacked up against them, including the packed crowd hoping for and celebrating cracking strokes by the batters, that bowlers step onto the field in high-voltage games.

Jasprit Bumrah for MI (PC: X)

There is good reason to look forward to watching Bumrah bowl in the flagship event that has captured the imagination of people beyond the usual cricket fans. For, he returns to IPL after missing the 2023 season when he was recovering from a back injury. It was not just the Mumbai Indians squad that felt his absence, but also the lovers of contests that unfold in cricket.

Since he missed the last ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia and the next one is around the corner, it is natural that there is considerable interest in the form that India’s bowling spearhead shows in IPL 2024. More so, since Mohammed Shami has been more or less ruled out.

There are some who would cast their mind back to his cryptic ‘silence is sometimes the best answer’ post on social media when Mumbai Indians announced their choice of captain for the season. Bumrah, however, does not come across as one who lets such moments linger. On the contrary, he is the consummate professional and delivers the best he can with the cricket ball.

Of course, he has the remarkable ability to adapt to the conditions and alter the line and length as needed, but he has admirably kept his bowling simple. He has not needed to reinvent the wheel or experiment much with his bowling. His repertoire is adequate enough for him to keep the batter guessing what would come next.

As one of the most successful bowlers in IPL — he is 11th with 145 wickets in 10 seasons — he will command a lot of respect. It should surprise none if the 30-year-old is looking forward to picking up 20 wickets for only the fourth time in a season. The batters will know that his genial persona is in stark contrast to the meanness and aggression of his bowling.

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