'For India, Jasprit Bumrah is best with the new ball' | Crickit
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'For India, Jasprit Bumrah is best with the new ball'

By, Mumbai
May 17, 2024 08:25 PM IST

T20 is a challenging format and to do well at the World Cup, the bowlers will have to be at their best

Bowling in a T20 game is never easy. If anything, the challenge has only increased in IPL 2024 with the bowlers coming under heavy fire. And it looks like we can expect the trend to continue at the upcoming T20 World Cup to be played at the United States and West Indies. With that as the context, India bowling coach Paras Mhambrey has his work cut out. At the ODI World Cup in India last year, the pace combination of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj along and the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav made their mark. But a repeat performance in the T20 World Cup is easier said than done.

Paras Mhambrey has labelled Japrit Bumrah as a "once in a generation bowler"
Paras Mhambrey has labelled Japrit Bumrah as a "once in a generation bowler"

During the IPL, Mhambrey not only got the chance to closely follow the form of his men, but also kept an eye on the pace bowling talent that is coming through. We caught up with the India bowling coach on the challenges in the upcoming World Cup and the young crop of fast bowlers who have impressed him during the IPL. Excerpts:

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As mad as the IPL can be, Mayank Yadav’s pace has got everyone excited. What do you make of him?

Exciting skills. Just the way he is running in as a bowler, there’s a spring in his action, hit the deck hard kind of a guy. He is not holding back, that is a great sign for a fast bowler. He is in a very critical phase of his career. He is young, his body is developing and you will have certain injuries. From now onwards it is not about the franchise, it is the Board who takes control, the National Cricket Academy comes in. If you have skill like this, you got to say we are going to take care of him from now on he will be under our wing. We need to make sure he has 10 years of cricket left in him, let him have a great career.

The T20 World Cup is coming up but India also needs to build a pool of pace bowlers...

I am very happy to see Khaleel Ahmed (DC, 17 wickets in 14 matches) bowling well. Especially having a left-armer coming and doing well is important. I feel LSG’s Mohsin Khan, he has something different in him. Not very efficient with the running bit but the way he comes and bowls, he has the heavy ball at times. Arshad Khan is a good prospect, a left-armer who swings the ball and bats as well. The other one I really like is left-arm spinner Manav Suthar (GT). He may not have a great IPL, but I will not purely judge him on the white ball, with the red ball, you see something different in him.

Looking at the conditions in West Indies and US, what is India's X- factor?

Ideally, having Bumrah in the mix does help. He is in rhythm; he is doing well. I have realised it’s about the leadership responsibility that he has taken as well. He is key. Siraj has been doing well, he has been around for a while and Arshdeep’s strength is his mental ability to soak in that pressure. It is a nice mix of quality, a really seasoned bowler and guys who played enough cricket to understand and be able to bear the pressure. Spinner-wise also it is taken care of. (Ravindra) Jadeja is there, Axar (Patel) is there, Yuzvendra (Chahal) and Kuldeep (Yadav) have all shown they are match-winners in their own ways. In that sense, it is great that we have covered both the aspects. I think all the bases are covered looking at the conditions we are playing.

The way Bumrah has been bowling in the IPL, would you say he has evolved to a higher level?

Bumrah was always different, always special. He is a once in a generation bowler. One is the action, he is unique, the pace he generates, the angle that he bowls, the way he releases the ball, they are so different. Sometimes it is very difficult for the batters to grasp what he is going to bowl. The ability to mask certain things, the way he uses the slower one. He has matured as a bowler, has raw pace and is so wily now. His understanding of the situation has become even better because of the experience that he has gained, he just bowls the right ball (at the right time), it is so unsettling for a batter that you can’t line him up. As a bowler you may have all the skill, (but) the greatness of a bowler is when to use those skills to a particular batter. I think that’s what makes him so difficult to face.

You have to understand which is the best role for him, and (for India) that is going to be the Powerplay. That’s what he has done for us in the last few years. He has been the No 1 bowler, leads the attack. Important is to pick up wickets in the powerplay. That's how we should be able to use him. He is there to pick up wickets, he is there to win you matches. He is at his best when he has the new ball in his hand.

How important is Bumrah’s leadership role on the field?

If you go a couple of years back, he knew that his role was much larger in the team and I have experienced that in the last few years that I have interacted with him. He would come across and say what he feels. And it is not only about the coach's perspective. It is so important from a player’s perspective that this senior guy is showing interest in you, wants you to get better. Knowing that the individual will grow and in that whole process the team will grow. That has happened in the last couple of years that and the credit has to go to Rahul (Dravid), giving him that mantle... saying that it is important.

We don't have part time bowlers like earlier. In that regard, how important will be Hardik Pandya’s role?

Critical. What I really like about him is he is an extremely strong guy. He is very clear with the understanding of his bowling and what his team expects of him. You will have a certain phase in every bowler’s career where he may have a little bit of dip. I will be really concerned if he really shies away from it (and) I don’t see that right now. From what I have gathered, he is out every day, working on his skills. A player like him needs one game. I am not worried about him. He is extremely critical to get that balance in the team.

How do look at the impact Kuldeep Yadav can have?

Just look at his growth in all formats in the last couple of years, red ball cricket, 50-over format or 20-over format. He is really one step ahead of where he was. Obviously having performance under your belt, the confidence that he has got, you see him as a different bowler. In his mind he knows he is No 1, one of the bowlers India looks up to -- that this is the guy who is going to pick up wickets. T20 is a challenging format for a spinner but he is still doing it. Earlier his stats against left-handers and right handers were different, now he is equally effective against both.

Personally, how are you looking at the Word Cup assignment, what are your future plans?

Right now, I am only foussing on the World cup, beyond that it is up to the BCCI, I would definitely like to work. I have enjoyed the last two years, and thank BCCI for giving the opportunity. Definitely given the opportunity I would look forward to working again.

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