Jasprit Bumrah has shared his perspective on England's innovative style of Test cricket, often referred to as “Bazball” ahead of the crucial ICC World Test Championship home series against England.
With the upcoming Test series between India and England on the horizon, Bumrah is gearing up to play a pivotal role for India in defending their proud home record.
Bumrah, who has had tremendous success in all formats of the game, including winning five IPL titles and playing a central role in India's white-ball teams, made it clear that Test cricket holds a special place in his heart.
He emphasized the significance of Test cricket, saying, “I am of that generation where Test cricket is king. I will always judge myself on it. Yes, I started with IPL, but I learned to bowl through first-class cricket; that's where I developed my skill, the art of taking wickets.”
In the world of Test cricket, the challenge for a bowler is to dismiss the batsman by sheer skill and strategy. Bumrah highlighted the fundamental difference between Test cricket and shorter formats, saying that in the shorter formats you could bowl five slower balls and get five wickets, whereas in a Test match the same deliveries wouldn't have taken one wicket.
He commented that “there is no luck in Test cricket, the better team wins”, adding that to take 20 wickets you needed to have skill more than luck.
For Bumrah, Test cricket remains the utmost format, and he expressed his dedication to it, despite his success in limited-overs cricket.
He also acknowledged the need for a balance between various formats of the game, stating, “Every format has its place – too much Test cricket would be boring, too much white ball the same. I think [the sport needs] a little bit of everything, rather than an overdose of one format or the other.”
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Jasprit Bumrah comments on Bazball
However, when it comes to England's aggressive approach in Test cricket, often associated with the term “Bazball,” Bumrah admitted that he doesn't particularly relate to the term but appreciates the innovation it brings to the game.
He acknowledged that England's style of play, characterized by attacking and fearless cricket, keeps him engaged and in the game as a bowler. Bumrah explained, “As a bowler, what I think is that it keeps me in play. And if they're going for it, playing so fast, they won't tire me out, I could get heaps [of wickets]. I always think about how I can use things to my advantage.”
England, under the leadership of Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum, has pioneered this aggressive approach, which challenges conventional norms of Test cricket. Bumrah commended their success, but reminded the opposition that it keeps the bowlers “in the game”.
Bumrah, who recently became the vice-captain of the Indian Test side, also spoke about his brief experience as a stand-in captain during the rescheduled fifth Test of the 2021 series against England.
Although India lost that match, he cherished the opportunity and the responsibility it brought. Bumrah did not quite express his desire to take up the captaincy role on a permanent basis when Rohit Sharma eventually steps down, but hinted at an interest in the role.
He said, “Playing Test cricket is great, captaining was even better. Yes, we lost but we were ahead in the match, and I loved the responsibility. Sometimes as a fast bowler, you go down to fine leg and switch off, but I loved being involved in every decision, right in the thick of things.”
As India prepares to face England in the upcoming Test series, Bumrah's words reflect his passion for Test cricket and his readiness to embrace the challenge posed by Bazball, particularly when defending may not be a great option on some of the turning wickets expected in the series.