Jasprit Bumrah has been a proven performer and teammate KL Rahul fails to understand why his nine-wicket match haul against England in the drawn opening Test is being perceived as a ‘comeback’ for the Indian speedster. Bumrah endured a below-par WTC final against New Zealand and was also not effective when he played a couple of Tests against England in India on unhelpful tracks.
Asked how he feels about Bumrah coming back to form, Rahul expressed his surprised at the question. “Sir, I don’t know why you are saying that (Jasprit) Bumrah has made a comeback,” Rahul said at the post-match press conference. “Every time, in every game, in every condition he has proved himself and he is our number one bowler. We are happy that he is doing what he is (has) been doing since he started playing Test cricket. Wherever he has played, he has been a match-winner for us. We are happy that he has done once again, what he does best,” Rahul said.
Having already spoken about his batting two days back, Rahul lauded the pace unit’s 20-wicket effort which was the major takeaway according to him. “The way we bowled in the first innings and the discipline that we showed after losing the toss and bowling first (was a takeaway). It felt like team which won the toss had an advantage and we bowled with a lot of discipline.
“How Mohammed Shami and Bumrah started and how Shardul (Thakur) and Mohammed Siraj continued, how all of them worked together and bowled in the right channels. We saw there were a lot of misses but the way they stuck to their plans was great to see and they got the rewards,” the soft-spoken opener explained.
There are times when pacers do get carried away in English conditions but what Rahul found impressive was how the Indian quartet remained in control. “Sometimes the bowlers can get carried away when lot is happening off the pitch and it says a lot about our bowling unit. There is a lot of experience in our bowling and they understand what exactly is expected of each one of them. Our pace bowling attack is the main reasons why we qualified for the WTC finals. Great to see that each time we go out there, we stick to what we have discussed and more often than not we have got results for being patient and disciplined.”
He also spoke about the batting unit doing well in challenging conditions with multiple rain-breaks. “It was a challenging pitch and weather conditions being as it was, going in and going out wasn’t easy for us to get our focus back. The switch on and switch off was very challenging. So it was great to see that we held our focus and in the field I think our energy was great.
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“Everything that we prepared for one and half months (post WTC final) fell in place and hopefully we can keep getting better,” he was visibly satisfied.
On a personal front, Rahul said that he was happy playing Test cricket after more than two years as it is frustrating to sit out at times. “From the last 2-3 series (away vs Australia and vs England in India), I have been sitting outside. The team was doing really well and I was very happy to be part of the team and seeing how we were beating teams in India and then Australia.
“So it was great to be part of it, but also very frustrating that opportunities weren’t coming. It was only practise, practise and practise and as a player you want to be in the middle and want to challenge yourself, so I kept waiting for my opportunity, so I am very happy that it came in England,” said Rahul, who prefers middle-order in traditional format.
“I was just looking forward to it and I am happy that opportunity came and in the first match and I gave a good contribution for the team.”
(with PTI inputs)