As Jasprit Bumrah reached wicket No. 100, in only his 24th Test, it was time to travel back to the start of an incredible journey.
Six five-wicket innings hauls, and a strike rate of 51.08 underline the 27-year-old spearhead’s potency.
Sometimes you’ve got to be present at the spot to comprehend the significance of a decision.
Ahead of the India-South Africa Test at Cape Town, the first Test of the 2018 series, the chatter was about the inclusion of Bumrah in the eleven.
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There were forceful points made either way. “He has not played enough first-class cricket. How will he bowl long spells,” asked some.
There were others, including the Indian team management, who were willing to back Bumrah for his sheer explosiveness; ambling across to the crease and unleashing thunderbolts.
Here was a bowler who had an unusual action. And the batsmen were picking him late.
Indeed, he was a unique bowler. Despite the load-up being far and away from the body, his arm was so high and upright at the point of release. He could be used judiciously, in short bursts, in Tests.
The decision was made. Bumrah made his Test debut at Cape Town. And his three for 39 in the second innings encapsulated his qualities as a bowler.
Crucially, he provided an additional dimension to the attack with his freakish pace and unsettling bounce.
Along with Mohammed Shami, he brought velocity and craft to Indian bowling.
Bumrah was striking the batsmen on the body, on the knuckles and the helmet with his nasty bounce from a good length and just short of it. He was softening up the opposition.
By the time the year 2018 ended with the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, Bumrah had a whopping 48 wickets to his name.
Working hard on him was Indian bowling coach Bharat Arun. He focussed on Bumrah’s wrist position and made him understand the release point while delivering his deadly yorkers.
Such was Bumrah’s value to the Indian attack that a decision was made to wrap him in cotton wool and preserve him for away Tests – he has only four Test scalps at home – where he could be most destructive.
India made history by triumphing twice in the Test series Down Under, and pace legend Glenn McGrath marvelled at how Bumrah’s pace did not drop even when he ran in late for his final spell.
The fiery Bumrah brings in the X-factor with him. And he’s as dangerous as they come.