'Sir, I'm exhausted, drained; will bowl a bit slowly': Bumrah to ex-India coach | Crickit
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'I'm very jaded sir; physically exhausted and mentally drained. So I'll bowl a little slowly': Bumrah to ex-India coach

By, New Delhi
Feb 22, 2023 09:20 AM IST

What if we were to tell that that there was an occasion when Jasprit Bumrah thought he wouldn't operate at his 100 percent? Well, as India's premier pacer plans his international comeback, here is a story not many have heard of.

There has never been an instance when Jasprit Bumrah hasn't bowled full-tilt. In fact, what makes Bumrah the single-biggest lethal weapon for India is the fact that he has always pushed himself to the maximum irrespective of what the conditions are. Even when Bumrah has played Test matches in India, he has run in with full steam. And maybe that's the reason why he has hurt his back on more than one occasion. However, what if we were to tell that that there was an occasion when Bumrah thought he wouldn't operate at his 100 percent? Well, as India's premier pacer plans his international comeback, here is a story not many have heard of.

Believe it or not, Jasprit Bumrah once decided he wouldn't bowl at full throttle (Getty)
Believe it or not, Jasprit Bumrah once decided he wouldn't bowl at full throttle (Getty)

During the 2019 Test match between India and Australia at Sydney, Bumrah contemplated bowling slow deliberately, reveals R Sridhar. The former India fielding coach recalled how after picking up a five-wicket-haul in the third Test at Melbourne, India and Bumrah headed into the SCG hoping to wrap up a series win. The venue historically hasn't had much for the pacers but on this occasion, the pitch was extremely dull, observing which a tensed Bumrah reached out to bowling coach Bharat Arun.

'Sir,' he started, slightly hesitantly, 'The wicket is absolutely placid, and there is nothing in it for the faster bowlers'. One of Arun's many strengths is his willingness to listen. He knew Bumrah wanted to tell him something but was unsure how to go about it. But instead of forcing his hand, Arun allowed things to play out naturally. Bumrah, of course, had been the star of India's win in the previous Test; he had been our best bowler throughout the series, as a matter of fact," Sridhar wrote in his book 'Coaching Beyond'.

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"'I am very jaded, Sir, physically exhausted and mentally drained,' he went on. 'That's where I am at, personally. There's nothing at stake so far as the series is concerned. The track is docile. It's more or less certain that this game will end in a draw?' After this elaborate build-up, the coin finally dropped. 'So what I will do, Sir, is I'll bowl a little slowly. I won't go flat out. I'll bowl well within myself and take out this Test.'"

With the World Cup five months away, the key was to handle Bumrah's workload management carefully, which is why the BCCI had rested him for the white-ball series against New Zealand shortly after the tour of Australia. But at this point, it was important how Arun was to deal with the little Bumrah situation, so instead of cutting him in between, the former bowling coach listened to the India pacer patiently before outlining two options that lay in front of him.

"'The first option is what you are saying,' Arun pointed 'You can take it easy and bowl well within yourself. You can bowl at 130-32 kmph, just finish playing this Test, then fly back home to recover and get ready for the World Cup. But in doing so, what may happen is you may end up giving the batter the confidence that he has played you well. You have bowled slowly; you have bowled within yourself; you have controlled your pace because you didn't want to exert your body and mind. But the batter doesn't know that. So, if you bowl like that and if a player like Shaun Marsh or Marnus Labuschagne plays you out, he will actually get the confidence to do it again. He's going to go one- up over you. So, tomorrow, in another match, even when you are bowling flat out, he will think, "I have played him well, I have that mental edge over him." That will give him the confidence to play you better even if you're bowling at your best. He will get accustomed to you," added Sridhar.

"'The second option is to go out there and bowl another spell or two of four or five overs each, wherein you go flat out and give nothing away to the batter even on a placid track. By doing that, you will also give the impression that even on a totally docile strip on day three or day four of the fourth Test of a series that you have all but won, you're still able to come and do this. Assume that sometime later, you are bowling to the same batter in another game on day one when there's a little bit of assistance. You look at the psychological edge you will have over that batter when the conditions are more favourable to you. You can either do what you are saying or choose the second option I have outlined. The choice is yours.'"

Arun's words worked like a charm on Bumrah. On Day 4, Bumrah bowled full throttle and even though he picked up only one wicket, he could have easily had five, such was his spell after lunch on a hot and humid day. Kuldeep may have emerged as the star but Bumrah with the second second-new ball made the Australian batters look like walking wickets.

"Then he said, 'Yes, Sir, I agree with you. Thank you very much for telling me this. I'll go and give my best. I anyway have a one-month break after this. I will do what I have to do. I am not going to hold back when it comes to that?' When he came back into the dressing room at tea time, he went straight to Arun and told him, 'You were right, Sir. From now on, I will go all out, no matter the game situation. 'I understand where you're coming from, Sir,' he continued. "You have triggered a change in my thought process. I will take this as a learning and stick to this going forward,'" Sridhar mentioned.

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