Mumbai: Indian cricket's blue-eyed boy, Jasprit Bumrah has been making heads turn – literally for the batsmen facing him, figuratively, for anyone who has watched him at his craft – with his high-quality fast bowling since his international debut in 2016.
His elevation in Test cricket last year has only provided an impetus to his sky-rocketing stature as a complete pace bowler.
Four overseas tours and 12 Tests later, Bumrah is now not only the leader of India's pace attack across formats but is also earmarked for all-time greatness.
Bumrah might have surprised the cricketing world with his astronomical rise in the sport, but the 25-year-old is barely startled by his feats.
"As a youngster when I watching all the greats on television. I always wanted to be like them and wanted to play for my country. So it was believing in myself, taking one step at a time and be it any situation but backing my ability has been my philosophy," Bumrah said at a promotional event here.
His statement comprising generic phrases like 'believing in myself', 'taking one step at a time' and 'backing my ability' might pass off as a mundane quote from any sporting personality, however, Bumrah's reticent self gives a peek into the cricketer hardened by the grinds of domestic cricket where he found his unflinching self-belief.
Now a world-beater, Bumrah, points to the 2015-16 and 2016-17 domestic season where his belief to 'back his ability' was born.
"After playing a couple of years in first-class cricket I suffered a knee injury. The whole process of rebuilding, starting from zero, then to go and do well in Ranji Trophy and Vijay Hazare gave me a lot of confidence, especially the fact that I did well after coming back from injury gave me a lot of confidence," he reiterated.
Before the knee injury, Bumrah had an incredible debut season for Gujarat picking 38 wickets in eight matches at an excellent average of 21.15. Statistically speaking, Bumrah hasn't matched or even come close to his exploits of the 2013-14 season but he understood his game better.
"Throughout those two seasons, I understood my game and helped me gain confidence," he told.
Bumrah took 21 wickets in eight games in the 2015-16 season at 25.47 and as if it wasn't good enough he followed the next Ranji Trophy season with 24 wickets from seven games at 21.79.
He might be hailed as the yorker king. He might get a batsman concussed with a mean bouncer. He might deceive many a batsman with his pace or lack of it, or beat them with his prodigious swing and seam, but it is his unyielding self-belief that enables him to pull all of that and more with utmost precision.
The excitement among Indian faithful is palpable to see the fast bowling sensation in whites as he gears for his first dig in of Test cricket in India. Meanwhile, Bumrah is hoping to carry his learnings from the overseas tours on to the home soil when India take on South Africa in the three-match series starting 2 October.
"The journey has been good so far. It has been 12 Test matches. I have played Test matches in South Africa, Australia, England, West Indies and I am learning from those experiences. Now, playing in India will pose its own challenges and I am looking forward to it," he said to a group of reporters.
Menacing with his bowling but extremely composed otherwise, Bumrah, was quick to play down the hype surrounding his maiden Test at home, saying that he has played a lot of red-ball cricket in India and the conditions aren't 'alien' to him.
"I have played all my cricket in India before playing for the country," said Bumrah, "so these are not alien conditions for me."
Bumrah, who etched his name in his record books, by becoming the first-ever bowler from Asia to claim a five-wicket haul in South Africa, England, Australia, and West Indies, said "For me Test cricket was very important. I didn't want to be a cricketer who has played (only) T20s and ODIs. I always wanted to make a mark in Test cricket."
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