Returning Bumrah to lead India in Ireland
Ever since he was ruled out of the 2022 Asia Cup, Bumrah's back injury and his return have been the 0ne of the hottest topics in Indian cricket.
CHENNAI: Nine months and 24 days after his last appearance, Jasprit Bumrah is all set to return to international cricket for the three-match T20I tour against Ireland that begins on August 18. Days after BCCI secretary Jay Shah said that the 29-year-old is fit and might return to action for the upcoming Ireland tour, the senior selection committee announced that the premium pacer will be leading the 15-member squad. Ruturaj Gaikwad will serve as his deputy.
Ever since he was ruled out of the 2022 Asia Cup, Bumrah's back injury and his return have been one of the hottest topics in Indian cricket. He was brought back for the T20Is against Australia, before getting injured midway. In early 2023, he was added to the ODI squad for the home series against Sri Lanka before the selection committee went back on the decision.
Such has been the reliance of the Indian team on the pacer that before every series, there was a discussion on whether Bumrah would come back. There were occasions where he was put through match stimulation, but he faced discomfort and eventually underwent a surgery in March.
Since then, the roadmap has been clear for him. Caution was the first word when it came to his return, especially with a home ODI World Cup on the horizon. Earlier this month, the pacer had started bowling at the NCA and was expected to return for the Ireland tour. And with the seniors Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya rested for the tour — they, along with the other players who are in the scheme of things for the ODI World Cup are set to take part in a preparatory camp ahead of the Asia Cup that begins on August 31 — Bumrah will skipper the side.
Understandably, the selectors want to see how his body gets acclimated to the shortest format before playing him in the 50-over format. "It is a fantastic call by the selectors. If he is suddenly exposed to ODIs, you don't know how he is going to respond. They have done the right thing by bringing him into the T20I squad," former chief selector MSK Prasad told this daily.
"I think the NCA would have taken into cognizance all these factors into consideration. He has been out of action for quite a while, almost close to a year. I think this is a good enough time to recover and these three matches will definitely show us where he stands. But I am sure that he will come back strong. Because the tactical part of it is already there in his mind, the only worry is about his body and how it will respond after the recovery. The ideal way is to give him a progressive load which they have done."
The other big talking point of the squad is the return of Prasidh Krishna, who was out of action for several months due to a stress fracture. Prasidh, who returned to competitive cricket on Monday for the first time since his injury lay-off, took 4/36 for Mount Joy Cricket Club in the KSCA T20 Super League match against Sir Syed Cricketers at the M Chinnaswamy stadium. Prasad said that India should have at least ten fast bowlers at their disposal.
"Of course, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Bumrah, they are all seasoned cricketers. Prasidh is still in his early days and whatever opportunity he has gotten for the country, he did very well. Everybody has got high regard for him, he is a tall, hit-the-deck sort of fast bowler and he is a bowler for all conditions. Going forward, we need to build this pace battery. If you see the age of some of the bowlers, they are all on the other side of 30. Whether he (Prasidh) gets selected for the World Cup or even in the next cycle, I am keen to see him do well in Ireland," said Prasad.