Jasprit Bumrah finished 2018 as the highest wicket-taker across all formats in the year. The fast bowler, who helped India win the third Test in Melbourne by 137 runs by picking up a nine-wicket haul, took 78 wickets in this year. Bumrah took 48 wickets in 9 Tests, 22 wickets in 13 ODIs and 8 wickets in 8 T20I matches. He went past Kagiso Rabada, who has taken 77 wickets in 2018. The South African took 52 wickets in 10 Tests, 23 wickets in 14 ODIs and 2 wickets in 2 T20Is.
Skipper Virat Kohli has rated Jasprit Bumrah as the “best (fast) bowler in the world” and someone even he would have been “scared to face” on a bouncy Perth wicket.
“Jasprit obviously is the best bowler in the world, as per me. He is a match winner, without doubt, even if he has only been playing (Test cricket) for 12 months,” Kohli was lavish in his praise for the Gujarat bowler.
The skipper then paid a rare compliment which possibly is the one that the pacer would treasure for the rest of his life.
“I mean if there was a pitch like Perth, I wouldn’t want to face Jasprit Bumrah to be honest because if he gets on a roll, he can really crank it up. The way he bowls is so much more different to anyone and I think he realizes that more than the batsmen. That’s why he is so confident about his skills,” the skipper said.
Kohli said that it was Bumrah’s “amazing fitness levels and work ethic” along with skill set that prompted him and coach Ravi Shastri to seriously consider him for the Test series in South Africa.
Talk about Bumrah’s transformation from a white-ball bowler to a match-winner in red-ball cricket, Kohli said, ”I think the fact that he was showing amazing levels of energy and fitness in white-ball cricket and hence he was so good because he was not giving runs with the new ball. He was getting wickets; he would come back in the death overs and not bowl one loose delivery. He was training like he wanted to play Test cricket. He was that obsessed about his fitness levels and his work ethics. So we discussed before South Africa that if we put him as a surprise package he could be lethal if he gets his lines and lengths right,” Kohli explained as to what prompted them to riposte their faith in Bumrah.
The Indian captain feels that it is Bumrah’s mindset of trying to perform without fretting over conditions is what makes him a match winner.
“The mindset he (Bumrah) has is what separates him from anyone else in the world right now. He looks at the pitch and he doesn’t think it’s a hard toil on these wickets. He thinks how can I take make a breakthrough for the team and your mindset separates you from the rest,” the skipper said.
What has specially caught the skipper’s imagination is Bumrah’s bullishness when it comes to aiming for the jugular. “He is as strong headed as I have seen anyone in the past and that’s the key to his success, and that’s what I have seen in the past 12 months. The way he has matured and the areas he has bowled so quickly in his Test career I think it’s a scary sign for the batsmen around the world,” Kohli had a word of caution for batsmen around the world.”