Chief selector MSK Prasad has revealed that it was the selection committee which pushed for fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s inclusion in the Test team.
According to Prasad, many believed that Bumrah won’t be a successful bowler in Test cricket given his action but the pacer proved them wrong with a wonderful in 2019.
The fast bowler took 48 wickets in 9 Tests, 22 wickets in 13 ODIs and 8 wickets in 8 T20I matches during the year which saw him develop into the spearhead of the Indian pace attack.
“There were many theories that this kid shouldn’t be exposed to the longer format,” Prasad told cricbuzz.com in an interview. “Since he has a peculiar action, which can lead him to injuries. In fact, the selection committee and team management thought the other way round. If this kid can get stronger without making any changes to his action, he can prove to be effective in the longer format, especially while playing abroad.”
A fair bit of credit has to go to bowling coach Bharat Arun, trainer Shankar Basu and physio Patrick Farhat who worked really hard on him. But at the same time, Bumrah has religiously followed the fitness regimens – a point that has been made by Indian skipper Virat Kohli too.
Also read: The year of Bumrah
Bumrah made his Test debut against South Africa in January last year and was the pick of the bowlers on that tour. He later performed exceptionally well in England and the recent series in Australia.
The two series also saw India finally adopt a 7-4 combination instead of the more aggressive 6-5 which Virat Kohli had a distinct preference for. India would often go with five bowlers because Kohli knew that to win Tests, his team needed to get 20 wickets.
But Prasad said that the success of pacers made India fall back on the old combination. The pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma produced incredible numbers as a bowling unit, comfortably outperforming the batsmen.
“I think we have got it right with 7-4 combinations while playing abroad,” he said. “Especially with our pace bowlers going so well, the need for the fifth bowling option has become negligible. This has also helped us in strengthening our batting department.”
The Indian team has also managed to introduce plenty of youngsters to the senior team. Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant are two individuals who have risen to the challenge.
But for the selection committee, the job is also preparing a succession chart for the entire team and not just a player like Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
“We have developed a healthy player progression process. Ravi Shastri, Dravid, I and my colleagues keep discussing on the players’ progress and based on the need in the senior team, we upgrade the players from India A to the senior team,” he said while emphasising how the combined grooming process is helping players come to terms with international cricket.