T20I World Cup 2022: How Will India Cope Up With Jasprit Bumrah's Absence In Tournament?
Jasprit Bumrah’s Injury Leaves India In A Tricky Spot For T20I World Cup 

Bumrah’s injury is a big blow for India’s hopes of winning T20I World Cup

As things stand, India’s pace attack will be bereft of its frontman Jasprit Bumrah next month in Australia. Bumrah suffered a stress fracture that will take over half a year to heal. It’s the same injury that had pushed him to the sideline two years ago. It’s the same injury that Shoaib Akhtar warned him about two years ago, Michael Holding predicted way back when Bumrah emerged on the scene, and the biomechanics specialist saw it all the way from the beginning.  


Bumrah’s idiosyncratic action became the focal point when he arrived at the scene. There was a general harmony among fans and experts about his dexterity, his uniqueness, but his action divided opinions. There were skeptics and there were fans skeptical of the skeptics. At some point, we got used to Bumrah’s excellence and his action, and his incredible consistency across formats pushed away the lingering doubts over his longevity. There was just one blip two years ago, but Bumrah came out of the storm rather fine, reclaiming the highs in a very short duration.  

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But will he be able to do it, again? Even Bumrah doesn’t know what exactly the future holds for him. More concerning than his absence from the upcoming World Cup is the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over his future. Fast bowling is a grueling pursuit, the very concept of it, where a player stretches every sinew of his muscle to propel the leather ball as fast as the body allows, may seem weirdly pointless to the general populace.  


But it’s everything to the practitioners of this craft. Many injuries have blighted the brilliance of fast bowlers. Before opponents, they have to fight their own bodies. The decision of trading off the pace for longevity is an inescapable curve in the fast bowling career, but India will hope Bumrah doesn’t reach this crucial stage soon. 

When Bumrah’s name appeared on the teamsheet for the second T20I against Australia, it felt like things are falling in place for this team at a right time. In his absence, the bowling attack looked rather pedestrian. However, Bumrah looked far from fluent in both matches, conceding more than 50 runs in the third game. There’s still no official update on Bumrah’s injury. 

There couldn’t be a bigger blow for India than losing his service for the World Cup. Bumrah seemed to be a godly compensation, an all-season bowler armed with the well-rounded skill to meet the different demands of different formats. He has been the fulcrum of the current pace attack, and all the experimentations in the build-up were to find the right pair of fast bowlers to join Bumrah in Australia. But with less than three weeks remaining for the event, India learned they will be devoid of their main fast bowler. 

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The fact that India doesn’t have a single bowler who can fill in the shoes emptied by Bumrah tells two important stories. First, and a quite obvious one, that Bumrah is a special talent. There’s not a single batter in the team who is as irreplaceable as him. Even Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, two of the biggest names, can be replaced without much hassle, and with players who are more attuned to the rhythm of this format. But there’s no match to Bumrah. 


Second, and more importantly, it also raises a question about the deepest reservoir of the talent pool that India possesses. Surely, they have the longest conveyor belt, but what about its efficiency?  

It’s interesting to visit an old comment from Hardik Pandya, who said only last year that India can play two teams and win any competition in the world. It may have come in jest. But isn’t it funny that there’s not a single player who can provide the balance and cutting edge that Pandya himself adds to the team?  

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After a year of relentless experimentation, it’s now time for self-reflection, and a brief assessment of how far they have come, and where exactly they stand ahead of the World Cup. Or maybe, even some experimentation? True to their theme of the year, they have added Mohammed Siraj as a replacement for the T20I series against South Africa, who played his last T20I in February, against Sri Lanka. 


Lead Image: Jasprit Bumrah/Twitter 

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