Jasprit Bumrah is already a hit after his first year at Test cricket and averages below 22 across formats with the ball. But his white ball prowess has been so outstanding, he’s tipped to be ‘the’ bowler to watch at World Cup 2019.
But as Bumrah approaches his first World Cup, there are concerns around his workload with the proximity between the world event and the IPL. The World Cup begins in England only couple of weeks after the IPL final and Bumrah is Mumbai Indians’ lead bowling resource.
However, Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jaywardene does not think Indian cricket should be losing sleep over Bumrah’s workload.
“The work load needs to be managed but at the same time they need to play good competitive cricket. I think India has managed their players well over the years giving them breaks. I think your best players need to play. They can’t stay at home and turn up and perform. It’s about that fine balance and as long as we can manage that, they will be fine,” Jayawardene told India Today.
The other reason why Bumrah’s fitness remains a talking point is the potential injury risk his unorthodox action brings with it. Former India physio John Gloster undertook a research recently on Bumrah’s bowling action and the risk it may pose to his lumbar vertebrae (back). Gloster concludes Bumrah’s action by itself doesn’t ring any alarm bells.
“It’s an old saying in sports medicine, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There are marathon runners and if you saw their running technique videos, you would tell them to stop running because they may injure themselves but they are out there breaking world records. Same goes for anybody in any sport that if they don’t have an injury history, they must be doing something right,” he told India Today.
The only major injury Bumrah has had earlier in his career was a knee injury that kept him out of action for four and half months in 2014. Bumrah did miss a couple of Test matches in England but that was following an on-field injury.
The other scientific parameter Gloster has based his inference on is that the sling-armed Bumrah has crossed the 25 years age threshold before which fast bowlers backs are susceptible to injury.
“An individual may have an unusual action but if his workload is managed properly; his strength and stability and preparation is managed well, recovery protocols are managed properly and if he is at an age bracket where he is not at risk – above 25, than there is no reason why that individual should get more injured than anybody else with what we call a normal action. I always say this if you give the body enough time, it will adapt to anything,” he said.
But despite experts allaying fears around his work load, the Indian camp would be keeping their fingers crossed with the exertion a high intensity competition like IPL throws up.
“He is always an attacking option with his wicket taking ability. In the death overs, he has all the skills and he backs himself to do that. He is definitely a game changer,” Jaywardene who will be working closely with Bumrah in the IPL said.