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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fast bowlers and the need for rest ~ Bumrah rested for ODIs


Indian tour of Pakistan in 1978 brought out a paradigm shift in Indian bowling – Kapil Dev burst on the scene -for the first time a batsman called out for a helmet for an Indian pacer (Sadiq Mohammad) .. and sadly that tour also saw the demise of the famous Indian spin trio – Bedi, Chandra, Prasanna.  Chandra played a couple of test after that – Venkat, played, was in fact recalled for the WI tour of 1983.

After that brilliant performance in Australia, people are now talking about the quality of Indian pace bowling – Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav and – Bhuveneswar Kumar did not play .. .. Bumrah was the most successful and Captain’s errand boy for breaking any partnership – India have decided to rest Bumrah who in fact had bowled 157.1 overs in 4 Tests – a grilling workload for a fast bowler. 

I remember the present bowling coach, Bharat Arun running in and falling down before delivering his maiden delivery in Test Cricket  - he played 2 tests and 4 ODIs taking 4 and 1 wickets respectively. 

Do you remember this Mumbaikar – touted as an aggressive quick bowler, who can swing the ball away from the right-handers even while hitting the pitch hard, Shardul Thakur became  the spearhead of Mumbai's attack.  With  Dhawal Kulkarni, he combined brilliantly to win Mumbai their 41st  Ranji Trophy title in February 2016. Thakur picked up eight wickets in the final against Saurashtra, and his dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara on the third day, the ball rearing up from a length to hit the shoulder of the bat, was perhaps the ball of the match.

He was to get his chance against the visiting West Indies, relatively an easy chance but managed to bowl only 1.4 overs in International cricket on his debut match, after having had to walk off due to a pain in the groin region. When Thakur's front foot landed on the bowling crease as he delivered his 10th ball in Test cricket, it seemed to buckle and the pain was immediate. Shardul Thakur is shaping up nicely since picking up a groin injury that kept him out of action for two months. On Tuesday at the Wankhede Stadium, the seamer took four for 47 to help Mumbai bowl out Chhattisgarh for just 149 in the second innings of their Ranji Trophy match. This took his match tally and figures to eight for 79. It helped Mumbai require just 91 runs to win –  and avoid relegation.  “No one has spoken to me yet,” Thakur was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on whether there has been communication with the selectors or BCCI management. There was no national selector present at the venue.

Now comes the news that India have decided to rest Jasprit Bumrah for the forthcoming ODI series in Australia and the New Zealand tour that comprises five ODIs and three T20Is in January-February. Mohammed Siraj has been named Bumrah's replacement for those series while Siddarth Kaul has been added to the squad for the T20I series in New Zealand next month.

Bumrah was rested "keeping in mind the work load of the bowler", according to a BCCI release, to give him adequate rest before the home ODIs and T20Is against Australia in February-March. Bumrah bowled more overs (157.1) than any other fast bowler in the four-Test series in Australia, only behind Nathan Lyon's 242.1 overs as the two finished as the joint-highest wicket-takers in the series. The list for most overs bowled across the three formats in international cricket in 2018 was also led by Lyon (636.3) and Bumrah (511.3), but the India fast bowler led the wicket charts for the year with a tally of 78.

Could recall that ill-fated Pak tour of 1982-83 when Indian bowlers had to toil very hard.  In the 3rd Test at Faisalabad in Jan 1983 – India made : 372 & 286.  Pakistan made 652 and 10 without loss to win.  Kapil Dev bowled 38.4 overs in that match – in that series he bowled more than 205 overs in 6 tests and played in One dayers too.  In fact throughout his career, Kapil Dev had to carry the brunt of Indian attack on docile wickets, with close-in-fielders dropping sitters even !

He ended up bowling 27740 in Tests and 11202 in One dayers.  Kapil Dev Nikhanj would ever be remembered as one of the greatest All rounders of India scoring 5248 runs in 131 Tests (184 innings) and taking 434 wickets.  In 225  One dayers, he scored 3783 runs taking 253 wickets.  Trivia.  There was one ODI, whence he played as a pure batsman, not bowling a single delivery in a completed innings.  That was ODI 395 on 7th Oct 1986 against Australia at Rajkot, where he was the captain.  During the time, when delaying the over rate and bowling lesser no. of overs was an approved tactic,  India opening with Krish Srikkanth and Raman Lamba made a healthy 260 for 6 in 48 overs.  Lamba made a century.  Kapil Dev blasted a quick fire 58 off 31 balls with 5 fours and 2 sixers.   But the Indian attack without Kapil lacked the incisiveness.  It was Madanlal, Rudra Pratap Singh, Rajinder Ghai, Ravi Shastri, Maninder Singh.  Krish Srikkanth bowled 2 overs while Azharuddin bowled the last over.  Border’s unbeaten 91 saw them through  ~ and there were some instances when Kapil Dev opened the batting too –more specifically in that 1992 World Cup in Australia.

The move to rest Bumrah does augur well for him and Team India.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
9th Jan 2019.

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