Former India fast bowler Chetan Sharma has urged the Indian team selectors to not waste a talent like Jasprit Bumrah in Test cricket in India as he believes Indian pitches carry a risk of injury. Bumrah has missed only 3 Test matches due to injury, since making his Test debut in South Africa.
The World’s No. 1 bowler in ODIs, Jasprit Bumrah has played a central role in India’s success in all three formats of the game in the last couple of years. He did get a much-needed breather after the World Cup when he was rested from the limited-overs leg of the West Indies tour but according to former India fast bowler Chetan Sharma, the Indian team management should consider the idea of resting Bumrah even for home Test matches.
“I think he should be rested (from Tests in India). We should not waste a talent like him. There’s a reason why he’s the best bowler in the world now, we shouldn’t test him in these conditions at all,” Sharma told Hindustan Times in an exclusive chat.
Sharma, however, sounded confident about Bumrah’s success on Indian tracks but was quick to raise an alarm about the injury factor that Indian pitches carry, “He has the talent to pick wickets on every track but my only concern is, he shouldn’t pick up an injury playing on lifeless tracks,” he added.
India has three Tests against South Africa and two against Bangladesh lined up at home, both part of the inaugural World Test Championships.
“World Test Championship is going on and Bumrah is very important for India’s plans. There’s no need to prove it to the world that Bumrah can take wickets on Indian pitches. Ultimately we need to win and earn points,” Sharma said.
Ever since making his Test debut in South Africa, Bumrah has missed only 3 Test matches due to injury, playing 12 out of 15. Bumrah has bowled the second most overs – 451.5 - among all Indian bowlers, only 4 overs less than Mohammed Shami, who has played in all the 15 Tests. Only Pat Cummins, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Josh Hazlewood have bowled more overs than Bumrah among fast bowlers since January 2018 with all of them playing more matches than him.
Adding the numbers of ODIs and T20Is, Bumrah has bowled 724.3 overs in international cricket since making his Test debut, which is the most by any Indian bowler in the same period and the third most among fast bowlers in the world behind Pat Cummins (809.2) and Kagiso Rabada (797).
Sharma, who has represented India in 23 Tests and 65 ODIs, urged the Indian selectors to rest Bumrah and go in with an extra spinner. “The team management should asses the conditions, play spinners and rest Bumrah. Ultimately India need to win Test matches and on Indian tracks it doesn’t matter whether Ashwin takes wickets or Kuldeep or Bumrah,” Sharma said.
Sharma also assessed the fact that India has one of the best bowling line-ups in the world and Bumrah should not take the load of all the pressure alone.
“Times have changed, gone are the days when we used to depend only on Kapil Dev as the lone wicket-taking fast bowler. Now we have one of the best bowling line-ups in the word. We have Bhuvneshwar, Shami, Ishant, Navdeep is also there, so give them chances, why put pressure only on Bumrah alone? Bumrah should be called only when it’s absolutely necessary.”
Jasprit Bumrah is a part of India’s Test squad for the three-match series against South Africa starting on October 2 at Visakhapatnam.