Within the space of five years Jasprit Bumrah has gone from being an extremely promising talent to becoming the face of the resurgent Indian pace bowling unit. Bumrah has been a match-winner for Team India on countless occasions and continues to be among the best pacers in the world.
As a result, Bumrah is consistently in the spotlight and rarely ever gets a rest. This is concerning because several cricketers believe that his bowling action could prove to be hazardous to his aspirations of a long international career and the bowler needs to protect himself.
Bumrah has been playing at the highest level non-stop for five years now and his form saw a dip for the first time in 2019. A back injury is believed to have caused that and although Bumrah managed to avoid surgery, he hasn’t been his best self since then.
With back-to-back World Cups approaching, the role of Jasprit Bumrah could be immense and India need to be very careful in how they use their best pace asset. Former Pakistan pace sensation Shoaib Akhtar has a piece of advice for the Indian bowler. He also asks the team management to use Bumrah judiciously if they want to prolong his international career.
“His bowling is based on frontal action. Players with that action bowl with their backs and shoulder speed. We used to be side-on, and that is a compensation. Front action has no compensation and with that action, when the back blows out, you can’t escape it irrespective of how much you try,” Akhtar said on Sports Tak.
The Rawalpindi express also set the examples of Ian Bishop and Shane Both who also had frontal actions. Their international careers were cut short because of injury related issues.
“I saw [Ian] Bishop’s back blowing out, Shane Bond’s back blowing out, and both has frontal actions. Bumrah now needs to think in this way, ‘I played a match, took an off, and go to rehab’. He needs to manage. If you play him every match, in one year, he will completely break down. Play him three matches out of five and take him out. Bumrah will have to manage this one thing if he wants to last forever.”
Citing an example from his own career, Akhtar mentioned that he had tried to convince PCB on several occasions to use him carefully but their reluctance forced him to take matters in his own hands.
“I kept telling Pakistan Cricket Board, ‘do not make me play all five matches. I am a three ODI fast bowler and by knees won’t allow it’. When I started my years in 1997, my knees couldn’t take the pressure. Whenever I played five matches, knees would get filled with water and my movement went away. I got tired of asking them to use me in three matches out of five but unfortunately, I had to manage this myself,” he pointed out.