MSK Prasad stated that although a lot of theories had suggested Jasprit Bumrah shouldn’t be exposed to Test cricket, the selection committee was assured of his success. He also added that the physios and selectors are always in talks and the injury management is the prime target of the committee.
Jasprit Bumrah got the call up for Tests last year against South Africa, and since then the progress he has made in his game has been brilliant. From being touted as an out and out limited-overs bowler, he made himself a lethal bowler with the red ball, ending the year with the highest number of wickets to his name. Chief Selector MSK Prasad feels that his committee always believed in the Gujarat bowler and thus gave him a chance in the team.
As stated by Prasad, many people questioned Bumrah's ability to perform in Tests due to his awkward bowling action but the pacer has proved everybody wrong after a superb 2018 where he took 48 wickets in 9 Tests, 22 wickets in 13 ODIs and 8 in equal no. of T20Is which made him the poster boy of Indian Cricket in no time.
“There were many theories that this kid shouldn’t be exposed to the longer format. 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,” Prasad told Cricbuzz.
Crediting the team management, physio Patrik Farhat, trainer Shankar Basu, and bowling coach Bharat Arun a fair bit for Bumrah's success, Prasad also praised the rookie from Gujarat about him following the tough fitness regimens regularly which helped him play back-to-back Test matches without getting injured.
“We share a healthy relationship with Patrick (Farhart), (Shankar) Basu and their team at the NCA. We are constantly updated about the fitness status of each and every fringe player, which makes our job easy while picking the team. I and my colleagues keep talking to the players to keep their morale strong while they are nursing injuries too.”
Bumrah's inclusion in the squad and him performing well on various occasions saw Team India adopt the 7-4 combination in Tests which made their batting a bit stronger in the overseas matches, helping them win Test matches in England and South Africa, and triumph over Australia after a 70-year-long wait.
“I think we have got it right with 7-4 combinations while playing abroad, 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,” Prasad emphasized.
This time around, the Indian team has introduced more youngsters to the Test arena, with the likes of Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw rising in the ranks quite successfully. While the youngsters were given a go quite successfully, the job of the selection committee is also to think about the succession process for the entire team and not only about MS Dhoni's replacement.
“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 concluded.
Cricket FootBall Kabaddi