India's Jasprit Bumrah
India's Jasprit Bumrah Image Credit: AP

Manchester: If there is one bowler that every team has kept a close watch on, it is India’s strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah. Every team has spent hours studying his videos and all batting coaches have been drilling methods into their batsmen on how to tackle him.

Unfortunately, very few have succeeded so far and batsmen have not been able to execute their skills as quickly as his deliveries. In the end, everyone admits that he is the World’s No 1 pacer and is once again likely to play a big role in India’s semi-final match against New Zealand.

Trailing this 25-year-old, who has earned the nickname Boom Boom Bumrah, is a treat. Always energetic to bowl at the nets, he really goes all out during practice. He is very serious while training at the nets and when asked about his skills, he said: “I usually focus on my practice. I think the only thing that works is accuracy and execution. If you have that, that should help you.”

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Ahmedabad-born Bumrah is aware that the entire cricketing world is talking about him. So how does he manage this huge fan following and expectations?

“I don’t take praise or criticism seriously. The only focus for me is on my preparation, my execution and what I can do for the team,” he said.

Will the semi-final be any different from the other games? Is he looking for any sort of motivation to gear himself up? “You don’t need any motivation to play for the country. You are playing an international game for the country and not everybody gets to do that. For an international game you prepare the same way, be it any other game. I am just looking at it this way.”

A real team player that he is, he does not like people putting down his bowling partners when they do not do well. When asked whether India’s middle order is under-cooked, he said: “You can’t look at it like that. It goes both ways. If the top order is scoring runs, then it is a good, positive sign for us. Everybody has got a good run over here. Even KL [Rahul] scored runs, he scored runs down the order too. It has been a good campaign for us. Everybody has chipped in with the wickets and also with the bat. So it’s been good so far.”

Backing his bowling partner Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was expensive against Sri Lanka, he remarked: “Some days some bowlers can go for runs. In the position where we bowl in, we bowl a lot of difficult overs for the team. He was clear in his execution, but some days the batsmen play well. You have to give credit to the batsmen. Overall, the wickets are getting a little bit slower.”

Having accidentally hit Vijay Shankar on his toes during the net practice, does he consider slowing down while bowling against top batsmen in the nets due to fear that he may injure them? “I don’t think about all that. Whenever I go into any session, I would like to tick all my boxes and that includes all the areas I wish to practice. Nets are meant to practise all your skills, and that is what I do. I just practice my deliveries that I want to execute.”

Is there constant discussion among all the bowlers in the team and a competition to to do well? “Everybody is taking a lot of responsibility. It is very good that you have got extra responsibility. So you are trying even harder for your execution to be perfect. That’s a very good sign for us.

“It’s a healthy competition [for the slot in the eleven]. In fact, it is a good headache to have when everyone’s performing and in good nick. It’s great to have that competition within going into a crucial game like this [semi-final].”