Tell Bumrah about all the biomechanics involved in his bowling action. Wait for some time. Maybe a day or two. Now, go through his social media. He would have posted about how hard work is everything or at least about how blessed he is to be a part of the Indian team. He doesn’t believe in all these. More or less, it is a shot on our face, telling us to drop the topic. He does all these with a smile on his face, forcing us to give in.
His idol is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. There is not much common between these two. Bumrah is super reserved too. However, the spirit of the game. The individuality links them and of course, the urge of wanting to be different.
It is not like he didn’t have an idol in cricket. He loved Wasim Akram, there was Akthar and then Malinga. The latter was at the right place at the right time to help out Bumrah. He became the master for this prodigy, a raw talent we all met through Mumbai Indians. Soon, Bumrah became the amalgamation of all his idols with the base built with backyard bowling.
Coming back to his idols, all of them, are fierce. Not only, by the way, they bowl, just by the way they look. If we are on the receiving end, there is a huge chance that we already know what to expect from them. It is going to be fast, attacking. We are so going to regret being on the other side.
With Bumrah, we have nothing. He is still a baby-faced man with a smile on his face. He smiles when he hit a boundary. He smiles when he got hit for a boundary. He doesn’t have the hair like his master Malinga but is something similar to a schoolboy. The one who has been sneaking around and avoiding the regular hair checkup from his teacher.
Usually, the batters get a few seconds to decide their next shot. They read from the arms, the fingers, the shoulders, the body of the bowler. There are times, their partner helps them to find a way. Bumrah steals that from his opponents. A fifteen-step run. You blink once. He is already close to delivering the ball. His release is closer. While you are coming to terms with all these, there is swing, there is a reverse swing, and then there is backspin to the reverse swing.
People have good days and bad days, but Bumrah doesn’t have those. Even if he has one, you wouldn’t know it because he can come at you at any time. Most days, he has only good spells and bad spells. One spell, he goes for your legs with pinpoint yorkers then there is bouncer barrage. He delivers bouncers and yorkers without much change in action, pushing the batters into the zone of uncertainty. The only thing you can do is to keep the bat between the ball and the body and save yourself.
On a pitch that offered nothing and being called the flat, Bumrah was writing lyrics to songs with words we have never heard before. While others were running marathons on the mountain, Bumrah sat down to write lyrics for songs. He wouldn’t call it poetry but hard-hitting lyrics. The kind that makes you uncomfortable, if you are on the opposite side.
Now, there were still talks of all three results on day five. England still had the chances of winning the Test. Bumrah first released the glimpse of his song during the last delivery of his post-lunch spell. Hameed was left without answers when the ball went past his outside edge, moving towards the shiny side.
Seconds later, Bumrah’s song was so good that Hameed couldn’t get it out of his head. A puzzled Hameed gave his wicket to Jadeja in the next over. Bumrah began the knock on doors.
Sometimes, your not-so-perfect songs win you gold when served right. Bumrah felt that when he removed Pope. He built the pressure, and Pope fell for it. A yorker went past Pope before he could realize what was happening. The reward for serving things right was the 100th Test wicket.
Bairstow had a cameo in this song release of Bumrah. He walked in, made Bumrah look pretty and walked away. He would have expected roses but got an inswinging rocket in return. Bumrah looked as if he was tired of knocking on doors. So much so that he decided to break in. The other men got through, created their own music. Sold it to the Oval crowd.
When you look at the scoreboard, 2 for 29 might not tell you the whole story. Numbers lie. After all, best albums don’t always win awards.