Preparations for India's upcoming T20 internationals in Ireland have been given a major boost as Jasprit Bumrah is expected to return to lead the pace attack.
Bumrah, who underwent back surgery in March, has been on the road to recovery, and his progress has been better than anticipated.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary, Jay Shah, confirmed that the talented bowler is now “totally fit” and likely to be included in the squad for the three T20 internationals in Ireland scheduled for August 18, 20, and 23.
Bumrah's injury recovery has been closely monitored by the medical staff at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru. According to the initial timeline, he was only expected to return for the Asia Cup, starting on August 30.
However, his swift recovery and impressive performances during rehab have paved the way for an earlier comeback. The BCCI's media release last week highlighted that Bumrah was bowling at “full intensity” in the nets, signaling positive signs for his return.
This wouldn't be the first time that Bumrah has faced injury setbacks during his career. Concerns remain regarding Bumrah's injury-prone nature, with his unorthodox action and short run-up putting immense pressure on his back. His injury history isn’t very promising either with the quick facing several bouts of injuries over the last four years. Here’s a timeline of the same.
2019: Jasprit Bumrah faces first back injury
The first time Jasprit Bumrah faced a significant setback was in 2019, approximately one-and-a-half years after making his Test debut. Following a successful tour of the West Indies in September, where he even achieved a hat-trick, Bumrah returned to India with high spirits. However, a fitness test revealed a back issue, and as a precautionary measure, he was sidelined for the home Tests against South Africa. Scans later revealed a lower-back stress fracture, leading to a four-month absence from the game. During this time, he missed crucial fixtures against Bangladesh and limited-overs series against Bangladesh, West Indies, and Sri Lanka.
2022: Struggles and return
In July 2022, Bumrah participated in the fifth Test against England before playing one T20I and the first two ODIs, displaying his exceptional bowling prowess. However, concerns surfaced when he complained of back spasms and was rested for the third ODI. He was later not selected for India's T20I squad for the Asia Cup, and speculations about his availability for the T20 World Cup arose. Unfortunately, Bumrah's fears came true as he was ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to a stress fracture, casting doubt on his participation in crucial tournaments.
2023: Hopes and setbacks
At the beginning of 2023, Bumrah's recovery seemed to be progressing well as he was declared fit by the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and added to India's ODI squad for the Sri Lanka series. However, his comeback was short-lived as he complained of a “stiff back” during nets, leading to his exclusion from the first two home Tests against Australia. Despite clearing a match simulation test at the NCA, he experienced discomfort with higher workloads, requiring more rehab for stiffness in his right glute. He was ruled out of IPL 2023 as his recovery from the back injury wasn't progressing as expected. The same injury had ruled him out of the T20 World Cup last year, and he was also declared doubtful for the World Test Championship final, which he eventually missed.
The anticipated comeback
As India's preparations for the upcoming T20 internationals in Ireland gained momentum, a glimmer of hope emerged for Indian fans. Bumrah's recovery from back surgery proved to be faster than expected, and he is now “totally fit,” according to BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
The young pace sensation is likely to be included in the squad for the three T20 internationals in Ireland on August 18, 20, and 23. His return will be crucial as India gears up for the 2023 ODI World Cup, with the aim of securing glory on the global stage.