Ishan Kishan slumped to the field with a painful grunt as Jasprit Bumrah‘s slightly short of length delivery thudded onto his stomach. It took him a few minutes to recover and resume the training in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Shubman Gill was at his best, while clobbering pacers Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Prasidh Krishna into the stands. But the Indian opener had to restrain himself once Bumrah tested his skills with an assortment of slower balls and in the channel outside the off-stump.
It was an optional net session alright, but the pacer did not drop his intensity even for a moment. The whole 20 minutes Bumrah spent bowling at nets offered a good peek into his operating philosophy in this World Cup.
It is not eye-catching like Mohammed Shami, who has hogged all the limelight over the last fortnight owing to his 16-wicket burst over four matches.
Shami is an apex predator, zooming in on the stumps and hunting for wickets all the time. Perhaps, no other contemporary bowler hit the timber as often as him.
But Bumrah has a totally different philosophy, something that will thrill the connoisseurs more. He likes to build up pressure with dot balls and draw batsmen into mistakes.
Check this piece of statistics. Bumrah has an economy of 3.65 across eight matches and it is the best among bowlers who have played at least two games in this World Cup.
In this showpiece, the average run-rate in the first Power Play (1-10 overs) hovers around six, but Bumrah’s economy stands at a thrifty 2.9 during this phase.
It is like a python grip. He just doesn’t give any breathing space to the batters just as he had restricted a free-flowing Gill on this day at nets.
Perhaps, being the leader of the pack prompts Bumrah not to chase wickets but him building pressure at one end allows the likes of Shami or Kuldeep Yadav to feed on that.
It is not that Bumrah is incapable of moments of magic. He can bring out that dreaded yorker at will, like the one crashed on to the base of Bangladesh batter Mahmudullah‘s stumps like a heat-seeking missile.
Pakistan batter Mohammad Rizwan might never forget how a slow ball deceived him and disturbed the stumps.
However, Bumrah has not been in pursuit for such moments, as he has a more lofty, selfless job to do, and if he has been a footballer then the pacer would have been happy providing endless assists.
Netherlands is a cozy middle-of the-road destination for him, but if his purposefulness at nets is of any indication then the Dutch might experience that vice-like Bumrah grip.
India’s optional nets
Ahead of their final league match against Netherlands in Bengaluru on Sunday, the Indian team returned to the field for an optional net session.
The Indian team had reached the city on Tuesday after defeating South Africa by 243 runs at Kolkata and enjoyed an off day. The Rohit Sharma-led team also became the first team to reach the semifinals of the World Cup.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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