Southampton: India pacer Jasprit Bumrah is not only a dangerous bowler for the opponents but also for his teammates. Bumrah yesterday hit India all-rounder Vijay Shankar with a sizzling yorker on Shankar’s toe, forcing him to skip the rest of the training session ahead of the match against Afghanistan at the Hampshire Bowl on Saturday.
At the end of training, Bumrah spoke in depth about his bowling and remarked that batsmen may get hit during training. “We don’t obviously want to injure the batsman, but sometimes when we play in the nets, nobody tells the batsman not to hit,” he said. “He hits you as well. So that’s not the aim. It’s unfortunate that he got hit, but he’s OK. He’s fine.”
Bumrah’s response revealed the ruthless, aggressive manner in which he prepares for a match. India skipper Virat Kohli had once remarked that Bumrah trains at the nets as if he is playing a match and is very serious about it.
“You have to do all your preparation, you have to practise all your deliveries,” said Bumrah. “Best preparation for me is to bowl to batsmen. I try to do all of that. Sometimes it happens, you’re unfortunate sometimes that you’re hit. It’s part and parcel of the game. You’re not focusing on all of that. You’re just focusing on your preparation. The batsman does what he wants to.”
Answering to a query from Gulf News on whether taking on Afghanistan after a high-pressure win over Pakistan is easy, Bumrah said: “We’re not thinking any side is easy. On a given day in cricket, any team can harm you. We’re giving equal respect to everyone. Be it Afghanistan or Australia, our preparation is the same. We’re going through our process, going through our routines. If we tick all the boxes, everything else is taken care of.”
With Bhuvneshwar Kumar ruled out due to hamstring injury, Bumrah will have a new opening-ball bowler in Mohammad Shami.
Will a new bowling partner making any difference? “Personally no,” said Bumrah. “We’re just focusing on our strengths. When I’m bowling with Bhuvi, we’re discussing that. I’ve played with Shami before, the three of us have played before too. We’re just focusing on what we have to do, it doesn’t affect us.”
When Bumrah was asked whether he makes specific plans for particular batsmen, he revealed that he does study the batsman. “Sometimes I do that,” he revealed. “Sometimes you want to try something in the match and you try that in the nets so it’s easier. You want to execute everything in the nets so in the match it’s just about repetition. I try to do all of that, be it anything — death bowling or new ball. You keep an eye on the batsman’s videos and whatever you feel you have to do, you do in the nets.”
Bumrah, who has bowled brilliantly so far, admitted that the pitches here are a challenge. “In white ball cricket, since I’ve been playing England has the flattest wickets, it’s the most difficult place for a bowler,” he said. “Usually there is no help, sometimes it feels that when it’s cloudy the ball swings but it doesn’t swing, nor does it seam. So at that time we depend on our accuracy a lot, and on our clarity. So we know it’s going to be flat wickets and we take that into consideration and think how to adjust. If there is a little help, then adjusting becomes easier. So we prepare for the worst situations and then if there’s help, then it’s good.”
As there was talk about wickets likely to yield over 400 runs at the start of the tournament, how does he feel about the pitches? “So far, in the first game we played here there was some help with the new ball but it was still a decent wicket, as soon as the ball got older it got better to bat on,” he said. “Oval was a flat wicket as everybody saw there is some help sometimes but you don’t focus on all those things. You see on a given day what works for you, you quickly analyse the wicket when there is no help, you go back to your strengths. Sometimes when there is help, you swing the ball and try to get some wickets. But most of the time it is easier to analyse the wicket, and decide on the day how we’re going to bowl.”