Why Bumrah Is Already An All-Time Great ODI Bowler

| Updated: 15 July, 2022 3:36 pm IST

BENGALURU: The ODI series between England and India stands levelled 1-1 after the two matches. The final match will be played on Sunday which will determine the winner. After the first two matches, the standout performer in the two teams is ace pacer Jasprit Bumrah who chalked up six scalps in the first match to lead India to a 10-wicket win. Though the visitors lost the second match, Bumrah snagged two wickets.

This isn’t surprising because he has been India’s best all-format fast bowler in the last 4 years. With a bagful of skills, whirlwind pace and nagging accuracy, the 28-year-old has troubled almost all the batsmen in the world. And with time and experience, he is only getting better and cannier.

Bumrah burst onto the international landscape in 2016 after earning his stripes in the Indian Premier League. His first international match was an ODI against Australia in Sydney. India were trailing 0-4 in the series and were scrambling to eke out a consolation win in the dead rubber.

After the visitors opted to field, Aussie batters once again laid into the Indian bowlers and started walloping them to all the corners of the ground. David Warner and Mitch Marshall cracked sparkling hundreds as Australia piled up 330 for 7 in 50 overs. However, in the middle of the carnage, Bumrah – playing his debut match – came out with a stunning performance.

While other Indian bowlers were slaughtered with impunity, he conceded only 40 runs in his 10 overs and also snapped up two crucial wickets. His first victim was Steve Smith – who was being a thorn in India’s flesh – who tried to pull him for a boundary but was caught at mid-wicket. James Faulkner was castled neck-and-crop by a searing yorker – which later became his trademark delivery – for 1. Had it not been for Bumrah’s superlative spell, Aussies would have scored over 350. His bowling, in the end, proved decisive as India attained the target in 49.4 overs and notched up a six-wicket victory.

Since then, Bumrah has come a long way. He has taken massive strides as a bowler in these 6 years by adding a host of variations to his repertoire. His control has also become much better over the years.

Since 2016, Bumrah has grabbed 121 wickets in 72 ODIs at an average of 24.30. His strike-rate, which is a touchstone to measure a bowler’s wicket-taking ability – has been 31.4. His economy rate stands at 4.63 which simply is astounding in an era where 300 has become a par score in the ODIs. During this period, the only pacer who has taken more wickets in the format is New Zealand’s left-arm seamer Trent Boult who has 123 wickets to his credit in 66 matches.

However, Bumrah’s average and economy rate are better than Boult’s. In fact, Bumrah’s economy rate (4.63) is the best in this period among all bowlers – pacer or spinner – who have snaffled at least 100 wickets in this period. This lucidly highlights the fact that Bumrah isn’t just a wicket-taker but is incredibly tough to score runs against. A bowler who is naggingly parsimonious, as well as a veritable wicket-taker, is a rare combination in the ODIs.

There have been many occasions in the past six years when other Indian bowlers were taken to the cleaners in a number of ODIs, but Bumrah returned with excellent figures. Over the years, opposition batsmen deliberately target other bowlers to score runs, while cautiously playing out Bumrah’s overs. His spectacular performances have been instrumental in India’s success in the format.

Though he has played international cricket for only six years, he’s already in the pantheon of India’s all-time great bowlers, be it the ODIs or Tests.

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