Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah.File photo | AP

'Bazball' can fetch me heaps of wickets: Jasprit Bumrah relishes upcoming challenge against England

In July 2022, Bumrah got a taste of the 'Bazball' when he captained India in Birmingham after Rohit Sharma was ruled out with COVID-19.

HYDERABAD: Jasprit Bumrah cannot really relate to the term "Bazball" but the linchpin of India's pace attack says the much-hyped ultra-aggressive approach that England have pioneered could end up working to his advantage and fetch him "heaps" of wickets in the upcoming five-match Test series.

England's offensive game-plan under coach Brendon McCullum of New Zealand and skipper Ben Stokes will be up against a massive challenge when the side faces India in a seven-week tour. The series-opener is slated to start here on Thursday.

"I don't really relate to the term Bazball," Bumrah, who boasts of 41 wickets in 10 Tests against England, told 'The Guardian' in an interview.

"But they are playing successful cricket and the aggressive route of taking the opposition on, showing the world there's another way to play Test cricket."

In July 2022, Bumrah got a taste of the 'Bazball' when he captained India in Birmingham after Rohit Sharma was ruled out with COVID-19.

The match is remembered not just for England's offensive approach in securing a seven-wicket win but also for Bumrah's 29-run onslaught against Stuart Broad in a single over.

"As a bowler, what I think is that it keeps me in play. And if they're going for it, playing so fast, they won't tire me out, I could get heaps (of wickets). I always think about how I can use things to my advantage. Kudos to them but, as a bowler, you're in the game," he added.

"I always remind the batters that if they need some advice on playing the pull shot, they know where to come," Bumrah quipped.

Pacers, 'smart' captains

On his thoughts about captaining India, the 36-year-old said: "I did one game and it was the utmost honour."

Drawing inspiration from Pat Cummins, who has excelled as a seam-bowling captain for Australia, Bumrah is open to the idea of taking on the leadership mantle in future.

"Playing Test cricket is great, captaining was even better. Yes, we lost but we were ahead in the match and I loved the responsibility. Sometimes as a fast bowler you go down to fine leg and switch off but I loved being involved in every decision, right in the thick of things."

"And given the opportunity, of course, who wouldn't? (Cummins) plays for Australia, the number of matches differs and that kind of thing. Not many (seamers) have done it before.

"But it's a good example that yes, fast bowlers are the smart ones, they do a hard job and they know what to do around the game."

Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
Testing time for the longest format

Test cricket is the pinnacle

Despite breaking into the Indian team with solid performances for five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians, Bumrah considers Test cricket as the king of formats.

"I am of that generation where Test cricket is king," he said.

"I will always judge myself on it. Yes I started with IPL but I learned to bowl through first-class cricket; that's where I developed my skill, the art of taking wickets. In Test cricket you have to get the batsman out and that challenges you as a bowler," he asserted.

Bumrah said Test format eliminates the luck factor to a large extent.

"T20s, ODIs, some days you might send down five slower balls and get five guys out, when in a Test match they wouldn't have taken one. There is no luck in Test cricket, the better team wins, you cannot take 20 wickets through luck," he pointed out.

"I don't know how the youngsters look at it. But Test cricket has been around this long, it will find a way."

Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
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However, like most observers of the game, Bumrah also warned against an overkill of any format.

"Every format has its place -- too much Test cricket would be boring, too much white ball the same. I think (the sport needs) a little bit of everything, rather than an overdose of one format or the other," he concluded.

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