'Rohit Sharma badly needs him; a nightmare for oppositions': Sri Lanka great identifies 'amazing' India player
India are fretting over the possibly of the star player missing out on the 2023 World Cup over a seemingly career-threatening injury.
With the 2023 ODI Cricket World Cup in sight, Rohit Sharma, Rahul Dravid and the rest of the Team India management will be trying to figure out the perfect permutations and combinations for the ICC showpiece event. India last won an ICC trophy in 2013, when they clinched the Champions Trophy. Since then, it has either been runners-up or last four finishes or, in the case of the 2021 T20 World Cup, crashing out in the first stage itself.
In the T20 World Cup last year too, India were knocked out spectacularly in semi-finals, with eventual champions England thrashing them by 10 wickets. Chasing a target of 169 runs, England raced to 170/0 in 16 overs, with Jos Buttler (unbeaten 80) and Alex Hales (86 not out) remaining unbeaten.
Ahead of the 50-over World Cup, India, who are also the hosts, have also faced some setbacks. Star pacer Jasprit Bumrah has been unavailable since last year, and is set to miss the IPL, the World Test Championship and the Asia Cup. Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant is also recovering from injuries sustained in a horrific car crash. Former Sri Lanka cricketer Dilhara Fernando feels Bumrah's absence could be very costly for India in the ODI World Cup, and that Rohit Sharma will really need his services.
Also Read - 'Rohit Sharma and Rahul Dravid said we want you to…': Shikhar Dhawan after he was suddenly dropped from Team India
"Bumrah is just amazing. If you look at India's performances in the last five years, Bumrah has played a very big role. He has been leading the pace attack really well. He is a game-changer. I am not sure about his injury updates, but he will be a key player for India in the World Cup. Rohit will need him in the World Cup. India and Rohit will really need him in the World Cup", Fernando told Times of India.
Bumrah's anticipated time of recovery is a red-hot topic in Indian cricket. After being rushed twice resulted in consequences, the BCCI is not at all keen to jeopardise Bumrah's career. The star India pacer recently underwent a back surgery in New Zealand and his recovery is being monitored exclusively by National Cricket Academy chief VVS Laxman. How Bumrah's back shapes up by the time the World Cup comes around will largely be determined through this rehab and training at the NCA, but while the Indian team and fans will be hopeful of him making a strong comeback, in case he is not able to, Fernando reckons India will endure a big miss.
"Bumrah in Indian conditions is another level. He is a nightmare for the opposition. India's pace attack looks good, and India are top contenders at the World Cup. Bumrah and Rohit know each other closely and have a good camaraderie, so Rohit would want Bumrah badly in the World Cup. IPL and Mumbai Indians have played a big role in Bumrah's career. Rohit and Bumrah have a good mutual understanding, especially in tough conditions. Bumrah will be key for India as well as for Rohit," he further added.
Bumrah Since making his international debut in 216, Bumrah has taken 121 wickets in 72 ODIs, 128 in 30 Tests and 70 dismissals in 60 T20Is. Having not won an ICC trophy, Bumrah will be aiming to get fitness for the World Cup and help India to glory.