West Indies fast bowling great Courtney Walsh is of the opinion that the skill set possessed by India’s Jasprit Bumrah might enable the pacer to scale the heights achieved by the likes of Anderson and Broad. Walsh further believes there will be more bowlers who will claim over 500 Test wickets.
Be it skittling opponents out with the new ball, generating exquisite reverse-swing with the old cherry or even putting subtle variations to great use, Jasprit Bumrah has done it all in his 14-match Test career and has carved a niche for himself through his performances in the whites. Despite having played Test cricket for just over two years, the Baroda lad is already talked up by many as the most skilful Test bowler India have ever had and the right-armer’s numbers - 68 wickets in 14 games @ 20.33 - also point towards the same.
Bumrah’s meteoric rise with the red-ball helped India win their first-ever Test series Down Under and it was only a year ago that the right-armer became the first Asian quick to pick five-wicket hauls in each of Australia, England, South Africa and West Indies. Several experts consider sky as the limit for the 26-year-old and West Indian great Courtney Walsh weighed in on the same and opined that Bumrah if he manages to stay fit, can reach the levels of James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
“He has the potential to reach where Anderson and Broad have. He is a very skilful bowler. He has a funny run-up that people might want to change. But it is what is best for him. If he stays fit, he could make his mark in a big way in all formats. It is just about how hungry he is to achieve success,” Walsh told TOI.
Walsh became the first pacer in the game’s history to reach the 500-Test wicket mark and only two other bowlers - Anderson and McGrath - to date, have been able to match the longevity of the West Indian great. While there is considerable scepticism surrounding the longevity of the current crop of bowlers - pacers, specifically - the 57-year-old has stated that he expects plenty of bowlers to go past the 500/600-wicket mark in Tests, in the coming years.
“It's certain with the amount of cricket being played now that records will be broken. You will find a lot more bowlers getting past 500-600 wickets.
“I am hoping I can be alive to witness someone taking 1000 wickets. I was predicting at one time that Muttiah Muralitharan will cross it, but he retired on 800. It's not an easy road, but it's possible.”