The deadly effectiveness of Jasprit Bumrah's bowling lies in his unique action.
Yet, according to legendary Aussie pacer Glenn McGrath, his unorthodox bowling action could be responsible for his frequent injury issues, which have persisted throughout his seven-year-long international cricket career.
When did Jasprit Bumrahh get injured?
Following his back surgery in March, Bumrah is now gearing up for another comeback as he prepares to lead the Indian team in the upcoming T20 series against Ireland, scheduled to kick off in two weeks.
Since his last international outing against Australia in September 2022, the Gujarati pacer has been out of action due to an injury sustained during the England tour. As a result, he missed participating in the T20 World Cup 2022 and the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL).
With just two months remaining for the ODI World Cup in India, the spotlight is firmly fixed on Bumrah's imminent return.
An update on the injured Jasprit Bumrah, who last played for India in September 2022 👇https://t.co/5pcffu9YYx— ICC (@ICC) March 8, 2023
What did Glen McGrath say about Bumrah’s bowling action?
McGrath, who knows the toll injuries can take from personal experience, McGrath is positively looking forward to Bumrah's return.
“He has been incredible for India. His bowling stats, the wickets he has taken, and the way he bowls, I’m a big fan. His bowling action takes a lot of stress on his body, so he needs to stay strong and fit. If he does that, he could play for a few more years.”
Should Bumrah give up one of the three formats to ensure longevity? According to the three-time World Cup winner, this is a decision that the 29-year-old should make after carefully evaluating his fitness levels.
“With the current international schedule and the IPL, there is no off-season anymore for a fast bowler, especially for someone like Jasprit, who needs an off-season to pull his strength back in. So that’s a decision he needs to make himself. It’s getting harder to play all three formats.
“That is something Jasprit will have to think about moving forward because what he does is unique and quite tough on his body too. I think he has a lot more to offer for the rest of his career.”
Jasprit Bumrah’s continuous struggle with back injuries
The belief that Jasprit Bumrah's bowling style puts him at significant risk of injury is shared not only by Glenn McGrath.
Ex-Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhter is one of the many other experts who thinks Bumrah’s bowling style is the primary factor to blame for his recurrent back injuries. Akhtar emphasized that Bumrah's speed-generating action from the shoulders and back makes him vulnerable to potential injuries.
Here is a complete timeline of Bumrah’s back injuries:
In 2019, Jasprit Bumrah faced his first bout of back trouble, occurring around one-and-a-half years after he had made a significant impact as a regular member of Team India across all formats following his Test debut.
During the tour of the West Indies in September, he showcased his brilliance by claiming a hat-trick and an astonishing 13 wickets across two matches. Upon his return to India, however, a routine fitness test uncovered a back issue, leading to a precautionary decision to keep him out of the home Test series against South Africa.
Follow-up scans brought a lower-back stress fracture to light, resulting in a four-month absence from the game. This injury also resulted in his absence from the Test series against Bangladesh and the limited-overs clashes against Bangladesh, West Indies, and Sri Lanka.
At that time, the medical team deemed surgery unnecessary. Instead, they opted to send him to the UK for specialized non-surgical treatment, which turned out to be effective. Bumrah returned during India's tour of New Zealand, playing in five T20Is, three ODIs, and two Tests.
In July 2022, Bumrah participated in the fifth Test against England and played one T20I against the same team. He continued his remarkable form in the first two ODIs, impressively taking figures of 6-19 and 2-49. He, however, was unable to maintain his momentum in the third ODI as he had to miss the match due to back spasms. Initially, the assessment ruled out a severe problem, but unfortunately, back issues would soon resurface, posing a concern for Bumrah.
The BCCI announced that Bumrah would not be part of India's T20I squad for the Asia Cup due to an injury. According to the official statement, he was in the process of rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru.
After a two-month hiatus, Bumrah's comeback was confirmed as he was included in the T20I squads for the Australia and South Africa series. In the first Australia T20I, he was given a break for a game, as mentioned by Rohit Sharma, with plans for his probable return in the second and third matches. Bumrah eventually played in the remaining two games of the series, bowling six overs and securing figures of 1-23 and 0-50.
Bumrah's absence from the first T20I against South Africa at home was attributed to a “niggle,” as mentioned by Rohit. Following India's practice session, a BCCI statement revealed that Bumrah experienced “back pain,” which subsequently led to his exclusion from the series. The injury prevented the fastest Indian bowler to reach 50 T20 wickets to drop out of India’s T20 World Cup squad. He is yet to make an appearance for The Men in Blue since then.