Chief selector MSK Prasad has revealed that his selection panel was confident of Jasprit Bumrah doing well in the Test cricket. According to Prasad, many believed that Bumrah won’t be a successful bowler in Test cricket given his action but the pacer proved them wrong with some brilliant performances in 2018.
The fast bowler took 48 wickets in 9 Tests, 22 wickets in 13 ODIs and 8 wickets in 8 T20I matches during the year which saw him develop into the spearhead of the Indian pace attack.
During a recent interview with BCCI, Prasad said, “There were many theories that this kid shouldn’t be exposed to the longer format. Since he has a peculiar action, which can lead him to injuries. In fact, the selection committee and team management thought the other way round. If this kid can get stronger without making any changes to his action, he can prove to be effective in the longer format, especially while playing abroad.”
Apart from the selectors, the Indian bowling coach, Bharat Arun also deserves credit for the same along with trainer Shankar Basu and physio Patrick Farhat who worked really hard on Bumrah. But at the same time, he should be commended for religiously following the fitness regimens – a point that has been made by Indian skipper Virat Kohli as well.
Bumrah made his Test debut against South Africa in January 2018 and was the pick of the bowlers on that tour. He later performed exceptionally well in England and the recent series in Australia.
Describing the same, Prasad said that the success of pacers made India fall back on the old combination. He explained, “I think we have got it right with 7-4 combinations while playing abroad. Especially with our pace bowlers going so well, the need for the fifth bowling option has become negligible. This has also helped us in strengthening our batting department.”
The Indian team has also managed to introduce plenty of youngsters to the senior team. Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant are two individuals who have risen to the challenge.
Empahasizing on grooming the young cricketers, Prasad said, “We have developed a healthy player progression process. Ravi Shastri, Dravid, I and my colleagues keep discussing on the players’ progress and based on the need in the senior team, we upgrade the players from India A to the senior team.”
Team India is currently playing a five-match ODI series against New Zealand following they will host Australia for a few more 50-overs matches. In the meantime, Prasad mentioned that India had started planning for the World Cup since the 2017 Champions Trophy in England in order to eradicate the chinks in their armor.
The Indian chief selector explained, “The planning started right after the finals of the Champions Trophy in 2017. We analyzed our shortcomings after that game, and we started working to fulfill those shortcomings. We tried certain new combinations and I feel we have fairly succeeded in what we wanted. We have a good blend of experience and exuberance of youth who play that fearless brand of cricket. Hardik Pandya definitely adds huge strength to the team’s balance. He brings in that additional strength to all three departments (batting, bowling, and fielding).”