Jasprit Bumrah scalped three crucial wickets in 3rd ODI against New Zealand    AFP
Jasprit Bumrah scalped three crucial wickets in 3rd ODI against New Zealand AFP

For any bowler, having control over the ball proves to be the most essential of qualities more often than not. And at a time when the bowlers across the world are engaged in a fight of their very existence, to have a few talented young men excelling with the ball keeps cricket a balanced sport. Otherwise, it will be batsmen all the way, wielding thick willows and getting fours and sixes with ease that leave the bowlers bemused. There are a handful of gifted bowlers such as India s Ravichandran Ashwin, Pakistan s Yasir Shah, England’s James Anderson and Australia’s Mitchell Starc who keep the flag flying high as far as bowling is concerned. Somewhere, among them is a bowler who is rapidly making a name for himself, and Jasprit Bumrah is perhaps India s best bowler in limited-overs cricket. Full Cricket Scorecard, India vs New Zealand, 2nd ODI

Bumrah, who is yet to complete a year in international cricket, stands among the best when it comes to limited-overs cricket. In 21 T20Is, Bumrah (28 wickets) is already at the third spot in the list of highest wicket-takers for India, along with Yuvraj Singh and Irfan Pathan. And it will not take him long to start challenging the leader of the table Ravichandran Ashwin with 52 wickets in 45 matches (since those occupying the second spot are not far away). Ashish Nehra and Ravindra Jadeja are the two bowlers at the second position with 31 scalps each. And who knows, Bumrah may as well join them in the next T20I he plays.

However, it isn t just about what Bumrah has done. It is imperative to look into how he has achieved. He may still be very new to ODI cricket with 14 wickets in 6 matches, but his inexperience does not mean that there cannot be an argument. In 6 ODIs played so far, Bumrah has taken two 4-wicket hauls and one 3-wicket haul, which provides early signs of the bowler having the knack of picking wickets in heaps.

In the Delhi ODI, the right-arm seamer Jasprit Bumrah once again provided a glimpse of his enviable talent which many of his peers do not have. For that matter, Bumrah s perfection in firing those yorkers certainly reminds one of the former Indian pacers such as Zaheer Khan and Ajit Agarkar. When a young, sleek and very accurate Zaheer broke into the international cricket scene, the world was overawed with his ability to place the ball in the block hole with perfection. Zaheer scalped many wickets with that art, but Bumrah is different in terms of skills.

First of all, with a sling-slot action, Bumrah was bound to have some comparisons with the Sri Lankan bowler Lasith Malinga, with whom he spent a lot of time playing for Mumbai Indians (MI) in Indian Premier League (IPL). But Bumrah is, once again, a lot different as he tends to angle the ball into the right-handers in specific, and the point release also tends to help him shape the ball into the batsman with perfection.

In limited-overs cricket, a lot has changed for the bowlers. For the spinners, dew factor has been the biggest spoilsport of late. But for the fast bowlers, their pace at times becomes the problem as the batsmen these days know how to use it to get runs. In addition, bowlers like Bumrah, who rarely bowl at consistent pace, take that chance of batsman using their pace out of the equation by bowling with a lot of variety, which also includes a heavy dose of yorkers.

Yorker could be a dying art. It is so rare that bowlers, for some inexplicable reasons, do not use this delivery in Test cricket at all. As far as limited-overs cricket is concerned, there are a few bowlers such as Tim Southee, Mitchell Starc and even Mohammad Aamer who bowl the yorkers with perfection. On the other hand, Bumrah is that bowler, who at a very young age, uses this peculiar approach as if he is a master in it.

In the second ODI against New Zealand, Bumrah perhaps produced one of the best spells of his ODI career so far. Having bowled an impressive but wicketless spell first up, the responsibility of holding up the New Zealand batsmen was largely on him, as the Kiwis had few wickets in their hands and looked threatening to post a challenging total. Bumrah had other plans though, as an excellent one-handed catch by Akshar Patel gave him the opening, and the bowler then followed it up with two yorkers to clean up the New Zealand tail-enders Matt Henry and Southee.

The rise of Bumrah would certainly have pleased the Indian cricket management, as limited-overs cricket is not anymore about a bowler being robust. There are different other skills such as the bowler s ability to cut down on scoring, with the help of slow balls, variations in line, length and pace. Bumrah seems to be a perfect fit when examined with these requirements, and he certainly is one for the future.

Interestingly, for someone like Bumrah, having shown expertise in limited-overs cricket, it becomes quite tough to start pushing for Test selection somewhere down the line in the career. Then, it is just not about how skilful the bowler is, it becomes the case of perception. If the cricketing fraternity labels a bowler as a limited-overs specialist , there are severe apprehensions if he gets a call-up for Test cricket. If he remains the same bowler, Bumrah might have to face this challenge going ahead, but for now he can cherish being one of India s premier bowlers, perhaps their best in limited-overs as of now.

(Devarchit Varma is a senior writer with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter@Devarchit)