Jasprit Bumrah is on the verge of a return to Indian soil, not just as a fearsome fast bowler but potentially as a leader under the hot Hyderabad sun. Come Thursday, when India faces England in the first Test, Bumrah will not only take on the familiar English batting lineup but also step onto the field with the lingering memories of his first, albeit brief, stint as Test captain. It was a baptism by fire for Bumrah at Edgbaston last year.
Thrown into the captaincy hot seat due to Rohit Sharma’s Covid-19 diagnosis, Bumrah found himself at the helm of a ship navigating the choppy waters of Bazball. While India ultimately fell short, the match was a masterclass in Bumrah’s leadership potential. He led from the front, picking up a five-wicket haul and smashing a breathtaking 31-run cameo, including the record-breaking 29-run over off Stuart Broad that surpassed Brian Lara’s feat.
The experience left a lasting impact on Bumrah, igniting within him a desire to don the captain’s mantle once again. “Playing Test cricket is fantastic; captaining was even better,” he declared, openly expressing his willingness to take on the responsibility permanently.
His ambition might seem unconventional, given the rarity of successful fast-bowler captains in Test cricket. However, Bumrah finds a contemporary and compelling example in Pat Cummins. The Australian skipper, another world-class pace spearhead, has led his team to World Test Championship and World Cup glory, demonstrating that fast bowlers can effectively navigate the complex demands of captaincy.
Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah in the practice session ahead of Test series.
– Captain & Vice Captain are getting ready…!!!! pic.twitter.com/mSYW0GI3jc
— CricketMAN2 (@ImTanujSingh) January 23, 2024
“Fast bowlers are the smart ones,” Jasprit Bumrah asserted, acknowledging the challenges but highlighting the potential. “They do a hard job and they know what to do around the game.”
While the comparison with Cummins has merit, Bumrah’s path will undoubtedly be different. Cricket’s schedules and structures vary across nations, presenting unique challenges and opportunities. Yet, Bumrah’s unwavering faith in his and his fellow fast bowlers’ capabilities as leaders is an intriguing proposition.
As he takes the field in Hyderabad, Bumrah’s immediate focus will be on dismantling the English batting order. But the whispers of his leadership aspirations will linger in the air, waiting to be answered in the future. Will he follow in Cummins’ footsteps and rewrite the captaincy handbook for fast bowlers? Only time will tell, but one thing is certain: Jasprit Bumrah is not afraid to lead, whether with the ball or the armband.