In crunch situations, he would say 'ok, I'll do it for you': Gavaskar names the 'clever' cricketer India can rely on
India gained plenty of positives from the Test series in England. Rohit Sharma's continuous growth as India's Test match opener, the second coming of KL Rahul as a top-order batsman in Tests, the all-rounder skills of Shardul Thakur and the resistance shown by the tail are some that come to mind. Besides, Pujara scoring back-to-back fifties in Tests and Virat Kohli registering consecutive half-centuries were something the team would be happy with.
However, the one big plus from India's perspective is the return to form of their premier pacer Jasprit Bumrah. Having gone wicketless in the World Test Championship final, Bumrah roared back to his absolute best, finishing the series with 18 wickets from four Tests and emerging as its second highest wicket-taker behind England's Ollie Robinson.
Bumrah bagged a five-wicket-haul in the first Test in Nottingham, but his 3/33 at Lord's and 2/27 at the Oval were equally impactful. Weighing in on Bumrah's red-hot form, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar feels the fast bowler is improving quickly and has established himself as India and Virat Kohli's go-to man.
"He is a very clever bowler. He is somebody who looks to get better than yesterday – be it his bowling or his batting. Look at the way he applied himself and hit those runs when India came to bat. And as a fielder too, he is looking to get better. So he is that kind of cricketer whom you can rely on. You throw the ball at him in crunch situations and he'd say 'ok, I'll do it for you'," Gavaskar had said on the Sony Sports Network.
During the Oval Test, Bumrah's spell spelled doom for the opposition. In the second session, England lost four wickets for six runs with Bumrah castling Ollie Pope and Jonny Bairstow in successive overs. With Pope's wicket, Bumrah became the quickest Indian pacer to reach the landmark of 100 Test wickets. But more importantly, the way Bumrah made the old ball talk, generating exceptional reverse-swing was a sight to behold, something that Gavaskar acknowledged.
"You see him with the white-ball, see him in the white-ball format, how they do it in the IPL and even the 50-overs game, there are few masters. When it comes to the red ball, it becomes that much easier. The seam stays hard and intact longer, the shine on one side is a lot brighter than it is on the white ball, and therefore there is a lot more opportunity to generate reverse swing," the former India batsman added.