No surgery for Jasprit Bumrah great news for India in busy season
In the middle of a bumper home season, the Indian cricket team was bolstered by news that pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah won’t be needing surgery for a stress fracture. Bumrah, out of action after the second Test against West Indies early September, had to consult an expert in England when he was diagnosed with a fracture in the lower back. It raised concerns that Bumrah may need surgery but bowling coach Bharat Arun said the fast bowler doesn’t have to go under the knife “just yet”, and is expected to be back with the team soon.
“Absolutely, it is good news that he doesn’t need surgery,” said former BCCI and IPL physiotherapist Vaibhav Daga, head sports sciences and rehabilitation at Kolkilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. “Recovery after surgery would take more time to come back to sport than what we do with conservative treatment (which Bumrah is undergoing),” said Daga. Earlier this month, all-rounder Hardik Pandya underwent surgery for an acute lower-back injury, and the recuperation is expected to keep him out for at least four months.
Ruled out before the Test series at home against South Africa, Bumrah too was expected to be sidelined for quite a few months. Arun ruled out that scenario, adding that he expects the 25-year-old to “hopefully” be ready for the upcoming series against New Zealand—starting late January next year. “Fast bowling is an unnatural activity. Despite our best efforts there can be no guarantees. We expect Bumrah to be back sooner than later, hopefully in time for the New Zealand Test series that is our next big challenge,” Arun was quoted as saying by The Hindu. “As of now, he doesn’t need surgery.”
Bumrah had travelled to England with Ashish Kaushik, the chief physiotherapist of the National Cricket Academy (NCA). “With conservative management (of stress fracture), it usually takes 14 to 16 weeks for the bowler to start bowling again, depending on clinical symptoms,” said Daga, who was shortlisted among the top three for the India team physio’s job when interviews were conducted in August.
Explaining the process, the former Delhi Daredevils physio said the treatment starts with core strength work, initially static and dynamic, along with a lot of stretching as intensity is built up depending on clinical symptoms. After the bowler is completely pain free, “progressively we go to more dynamic exercise stuff. As he gets better and better he is made to start slow running (the stage in which Bumrah is said to be now). Bowling specific rehab is done towards the end.” After rehab, Bumrah will be slowly eased into bowling with progressive intensity buildup. His speed and workload will be monitored. He will start at 50% of his speed and will gradually allowed to build with time to 70-80% before he is deemed fit enough to go full throttle.
Bumrah has been prolific for India across all formats, particularly in Tests where he has picked 62 wickets in just 12 matches at an average of 19.24. In all four tours he has been part of so far—South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies—Bumrah has had at least one five-wicket haul to show for. He also became only the third Indian to pick up a Test hattrick during the first innings of the first Test against West Indies in Antigua. Bumrah’s impressive show had prompted captain Virat Kohli to say, “It is really pleasing to see a guy who was tagged as a T20 specialist, he came in and took over the one-day scene, and now he is taking over Test cricket. He definitely wants to be the best bowler in the world, there is no question about it.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also ensured Bumrah is managed well, resting him for the limited-overs matches during the tours of Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. That he still suffered an off-field injury despite so much precaution was worrying. This was the second time in his career that Bumrah missed cricket due to injury. Last year, Bumrah had injured his thumb, forcing him to miss the first two Tests against England.