Former India player Gautam Gambhir has opined that the Indian team needs to use Jasprit Bumrah judiciously during their upcoming home series against England to keep the pacer fit for the other challenges ahead.
Jasprit Bumrah is the latest among a host of Indian pacers who have suffered an injury either before or during the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He will miss the series-decider at Brisbane because of an abdominal strain.
With India scheduled to play a lot of international cricket in the year ahead, Gautam Gambhir was asked in a recent episode of the Star Sports show Cricket Connected about Jasprit Bumrah’s workload management, as he is a key player for the team in all three formats of the game.
The former opener observed that Team India have used Jasprit Bumrah judiciously in Test matches to date, as he has predominantly bowled in conditions where he would be the most penetrative.
“He hasn’t played a Test match at home. I am sure the Indian team management has looked after Jasprit Bumrah reasonably well because they have actually used him in places like England, South Africa and Australia where he is probably even more threatening.”
While acknowledging Jasprit Bumrah will be a force to reckon with even in home conditions, Gautam Gambhir pointed out that the Indian spinners can do the job on tracks that assist them. He also hoped Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma, who is already playing the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, would be fit for the England series.
“I am not saying he will not be threatening in India; he is going to be even more threatening in India where wickets can get low and slow, and he can reverse the ball really well. I still feel if you are playing four Test matches at home, you don’t need to play Jasprit Bumrah in all four matches. Because here your spinners will also get help, and Mohammed Shami would have come back hopefully and Ishant Sharma will be fit.”
“India will need a fit Jasprit Bumrah” – Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir observed that the Gujarat pacer can also be rested during the limited-overs leg of England’s tour of India.
“You can also give him a break in T20 cricket and a little bit break in ODI cricket as well. No player wants to take a break, but a bowler like Jasprit Bumrah, whose action is a little different, I am sure only experts can tell where he has the maximum load, whether in the back or somewhere else.”
Gambhir concluded by observing that Jasprit Bumrah’s workload needs to be managed properly, as his services will be critical during the upcoming tour of England and the T20 World Cup later in the year.
“It is very much required to look after him, as the England tour of 5 Test matches is going to be very important and after that the T20 World Cup. So, you will need a fit Jasprit Bumrah.”
India have a packed calendar leading up to the T20 World Cup. They play host to England in all three formats of the game after returning from Australia.
That will be followed by IPL 2021, a five-Test tour of England, the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup. India will also hope to qualify for the final of the inaugural World Test Championship during the year.
Considering the congested schedule and the mental burden on players due to COVID-related restrictions and living in a bio-bubble, all-format players like Jasprit Bumrah need to be given breaks to keep them fresh for key matches and series.
Published 14 Jan 2021, 10:59 IST