Bumrah revels on big stage
Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah, a virtually unknown teenager from Gujarat, had a memorable IPL debut on Thursday, taking 3 for 32 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He didn't have the best of starts, though, being taken for three fours in his first four deliveries by Virat Kohli.
He then had Kohli lbw off his fifth ball, and celebrated exuberantly. "He had hit me for three boundaries in that over and so I was angry," Bumrah told the IPL website. "I am always like this on the field."
Bumrah was picked for the match ahead of more experienced contenders like Dhawal Kulkarni and Abu Nechim, but wasn't fazed by the occasion. "It was the first time that I played in front of such huge crowd but I wasn't paying any attention to the crowd. The more you focus on the inside, the better it is."
Mumbai have a line-up including some of the biggest names in cricket, including Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting, players any youngster would dream of meeting. "I did feel a little overawed by all the big players in the team initially. But they were so welcoming and friendly, they made me feel at ease."
He hit the headlines with a Man-of-the-Match performance in the final of the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament, and he impressed Mumbai's coach John Wright earlier in the tournament with his bowling in the league stage in Ahmedabad. "John Wright had come to watch one of our T20 matches and he watched me bowl in two games," Bumrah said. "He didn't talk to me or hint anything. After he went, I got a call asking if I was interested in signing a contract with the Mumbai Indians."
One of the things that make Bumrah difficult to deal with initially is his unusual action, with stiff hands and bowling well wide of the crease. It looks ungainly but his coach Kishore Trivedi, father of Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat medium-pacer Siddharth, doesn't want him to alter the action. "There were many who felt that we should change his action but I was reluctant," Trivedi told Indian Express. " He is a natural and there was no point in making drastic changes. It would've led him nowhere."