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Sunday, September 1, 2019

Jasprit Bumrah's feat ~ hat-trick !


He is only playing his 12th  Test match. He already has 60 wickets at an average (18.86) and strike rate (43.0) straight out of the late 19th century. He's taken at least one five-wicket haul in each of the four countries he's played Test cricket in. He's only 25 ~ and he further etched his name in Record books with a hat-trick – the man Jasprit Bumrah ..

Wayback in 1978, when India toured Pakistan after almost 2 decades - Pakistani openers — the belligerent Majid Khan and the gutsy Sadiq Mohammad — strode out to the middle on a barren pitch. The expectation was ordinary : two all-rounders (or even specialist batsmen) to take the shine off the ball before the spin trinity of Bishan Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, and EAS Prasanna would take over ! ~ but something good for the Nation occurred, a young lad from Haryana (Kapil Dev) ran in and banged in short – the ball hit the deck  and rose high, kept on rising and whizzed just over Sadiq's head! Whether he was baffled, surprised or was in fear – one would never know – but he signaled to  dressing room asking for a helmet – perhaps an Indian pacer had made his mark. 

Life has change a lot – West Indies which would have a dozen fast bowlers in their reserves is playing off-spinners and India dumps  World best Off spinner with 342 wickets !.. ..     India head coach Ravi Shastri  revealed why India have picked Ravindra Jadeja, rather than R Ashwin, as their lone spinner in the two Tests against West Indies. Shastri admitted it was difficult to leave a "world-class" bowler like Ashwin on the bench, but pointed to various attributes that gave Jadeja the edge. Chiefly, he said India's team management had felt Jadeja's pace through the air would have made him difficult to face on a damp Antigua pitch in case India needed to bowl first.  Sometime back the Chief of Selectors attributed Vijay Shankar as three dimensional – now Shastri says Greame Swann that Jadeja is arguably the best fielder in the world now; has  improved his batting like hell. .. ..  what a comparison – Jadeja is close to 200 wickets and has been very good .. yet that is no justification for dropping Ashwin !   ~  but you can do this and anything more when the opposition is West Indies who perform rather ordinarily !!

The 1st  ever hattrick in an ODI was on Sept. 20, 1982 when JalaludDin had Rodney Marsh, Bruce Yardley and Geoff Lawson. In Test Cricket, there have been 43 hattricks – the first ever distinction was achieved by Aussie quickie Fred Spofforth who ripped through England’s bating at Melbourne in Jan 1879. In all there have been 43 hattricks, England head the list with 14; Australia 10; Bangladesh 2; India 3; New Zealand 2; Pakistan 4; West Indies 4; Srilanka 2 and South Africa / Zimbabwe – 1 each.

All of us do well remember that brilliant hattrick by Harbhajan Singh in what is otherwise known as VVS Laxman special Test – 2nd Test at Kolkatta in Mar 2011, when India, following on bounced back, thanks to that great innings by Laxman.  Aussies on a winning spree lost the test and the Series.  Bhaji’s victims were Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne.  Warne was caught by Saagopan Ramesh.  At Karachi, in Jan 2006, Irfan Pathan removed Salman Butt, Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf -  have seen all the hattricks by Indian bowlers live !! (on TV of course!) Remember watching Petherick bowling to Venkat Raghavan at Chepauk, he came with the reputation of having a taken a hattrick on debut against Pakistan – but went on to play just 6 tests !

In Nov 1988,  Courtney Walsh dismissed Tony Dodemaide to end Australia's first innings in the first Test in Brisbane, then ripped out Mike Veletta and Graeme Wood with his first two deliveries in the second innings to have a hattrick spread over 2 innings.  In the  next Test after Walsh's inaugural split-innings hat-trick, the big Merv Hughes came up with an even more complicated one, which was actually spread over three overs. At Perth, he  dismissed Curtly Ambrose with the last ball of his 36th  over, then (after another wicket had fallen at the other end) polished off the innings by removing Patrick Patterson with the first ball of his next over, to finish with 5 for 130. Then, with the first ball of West Indies' second innings, Hughes trapped Gordon Greenidge plumb in front, and went on to take 8 for 87.

Yesterday at Sabina Park, Jamaica, Jasprit Bumrah became only the third Indian to collect a Test hat-trick, while Hanuma Vihari and Ishant Sharma posted personal bests with the bat to give India a massive advantage against West Indies in the second Test at Kingston. After Vihari scored his first Test ton and Ishant hit his maiden Test fifty to lift India to 416 in the afternoon, Bumrah tore through the West Indies batting to rip out six of the seven wickets that fell in the session, including a hat-trick that sent back Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks and Roston Chase.

Bumrah could've caused more damage had he not left the field due to a cramp. But by then, he had reduced West Indies to 22 for 5. At stumps, West Indies had lost two more wickets, and still needed 130 more to avoid the follow-on. Opener John Campbell was the first to fall to Bumrah. He was on 2, struggling with the pacer's full deliveries when he bowled one shorter, trapping Campbell on the back foot. The seam movement that Bumrah was getting all afternoon nipped the edge of Campbell's bat, and went to second slip. Bumrah's fourth over was the one that entered the record books. The first delivery to Darren Bravo swung too much, but Bumrah made amends next ball. He aimed the next delivery on middle stump, and the away movement caught Bravo's outside edge, pocketed by second slip. Shamarh Brooks walked in next, and Bumrah got this one to swing into the right-hander, hitting him on the back pad. Brooks reviewed but that was in vain, the ball was hitting leg stump. Then came the hat-trick delivery, and Roston Chase was welcomed with three slips, two gullys, a short leg and two catchers behind square. Bumrah went for his trusted full delivery, swinging into Chase, and rapped him on the front toe. The lbw appeal was turned down, but Virat Kohli, standing at second slip, backed his judgement and went for the review, which showed three reds and confirmed a hat-trick for Bumrah.

Bumrah thus joined Harbhajan Singh and Irfan Pathan among Indians with Test hat-tricks. He then made it back to back five-wicket hauls when Kraigg Brathwaite edged a full delivery behind.  At close of play, Bumrah's figures read 9.1-3-16-6. Jasprit Bumrah is a precious commodity ~ and India needs to strategically plan to preserve him in cotton wool .. ..  Well done – Jasprit Bumrah !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
1st Sept 2o19.


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