Jasprit Bumrah, the Mumbai Indians and India pacer, says the coronavirus lockdown offered him a rare chance to work on the mental side of his game, given all the time and space he had to himself. The enforced break also served as a reminder of how much he "enjoys playing this game", he said, in an interview with Times of India.
"One of the things I realised was this would be the best time for me to work on aspects that need time and space - the mental aspect," Bumrah said. "I thought of ways in which I could make the best of this opportunity. I realised I wouldn't get a time like this again.
"[I worked on] sports-specific meditation. Just to be in the present. Bringing in a bit of soft-focus. Usually, when we're in the middle of action, there's a lot of noise. So, how to block out that noise, how to stay in the present, how to control the controllables and things like that.
"At times frustration seeps in because something is not going your way. When such things happen, how do you control it to ensure it doesn't affect your game. These are the things I kept reiterating to myself."
"Bowling stump to stump can sound boring, but it's a great teacher" Jasprit Bumrah
Skills-wise, he said he used the time to work on the fundamentals of bowling - and he thoroughly enjoyed doing that. "A month of bowling on a single wicket can teach you a lot of things," he said. "You tend to think more about how you're running in, the angles at which your arm is coming down, sticking to a line, etc. For instance, figuring things that were not going for me, working on them, going back to a lot of basics.
"Bowling stump to stump can sound boring, but it's a great teacher. Bowling yorkers without a batsman facing it... Basically, just enjoyed doing these things. Lockdown made me realise how much I enjoy playing this game."
Bumrah also said he was happy to make a comeback via the T20 format after the long break, as it is "easier" to do this than return directly to Test cricket from a workload point of view. "I don't think anybody would be focusing on the format right now. Everybody just wants to return to the game. But returning to the T20 format will be easier.
"You need a little more preparation time for Tests. Preparing for a Test would need your body to absorb the workload of 18-20 overs a day. For that, you need to bowl 15 overs in the nets during training too. If there's a spike in workload, there's a chance of injury."
Mumbai Indians will open their title defence in Abu Dhabi, against Chennai Super Kings, on September 19.