It was in 2013 when a relatively unknown Jasprit Bumrah was thrown into the glitzy world of the IPL. Spotted by Mumbai Indians coach John Wright at a Syed Mushtaq Ali game, the then 19-year-old was given his first big platform to impress long before making his first-class debut.
A peculiar action caught the eye of Wright. Playing under the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Anil Kumble and Lasith Malinga along the way, Bumrah got a crash course in big-game situations. The Wankhede stadium, home to the Mumbai Indians, where Bumrah has now spent three seasons, was his first real home stadium.
It is here that the now 22-year-old returns to play the biggest game of his career so far on Thursday.
The difference between his IPL stint and the game on Thursday is in the role Bumrah will don. With Mumbai Indians, Bumrah was always the reserve. By contrast, on Thursday, it will be Bumrah who will be expected to bowl those run-sapping yorkers, which have made him so dangerous.
In the three months since he first got the India call-up, a lot has changed. It was an injury to Mohammed Shami that gave Bumrah a place in the India T20 squad against Australia Down Under.
Since making his debut, he has produced economical spells peppered with crucial wickets that have engineered quite a few Indian victories. In the World T20, though, the bowler has contributed, but has yet to match the fierce spells in Australia.
In the last three games, he has leaked over 30 runs in each of his efforts. The dropped catch and misfield further exposed his inexperience in the must-win game against Bangladesh.
On Thursday, Bumrah will be in familiar environs. The Wankhede will once again provide the platform for the youngster to perform. This time, it won’t just be to impress but to deliver.