Bumrah: ‘The yorker is probably the first delivery I learned’

Jasprit Bumrah finished the Visakhapatnam Test against England with nine wickets – 6 for 45 and 3 for 46 – to help India draw level at 1-1 in the series. The highlight of his performance was the yorker that swung into Ollie Pope and uprooted his middle and leg stumps in the first innings.

“As a youngster that [the yorker] is probably the first delivery I had learned because I had come from tennis ball cricket and I had seen the legends of the game, Waqar [Younis], Wasim [Akram] and even Zaheer Khan, I had seen them on the television, how do they bowl yorkers,” Bumrah told the broadcaster after India’s 106-run victory. “As a kid I used to feel that is the only way to take wickets. So that is the first delivery I learned. Yes, I kept it with me and I kept on using it to my advantage and now even in Test cricket when you get wickets off it, it’s great.”

Bumrah now has 36 wickets in six Tests in India, at an outstanding average of 13.06 and strike rate of 29.5, but he said he wasn’t focussed on numbers anymore. “I don’t look at numbers because when I was a youngster I used to look at numbers. Yes, it made me excited, but you know, if you think about numbers, there’s a lot of pressure anyway playing for India. And if you take that added baggage, it doesn’t really help. So I’m very happy that we won and when you contribute towards that success it feels even better.”

When asked if he felt like the leader of India’s attack, even though players like R Ashwin have a lot more experience than him, Bumrah said: “Not the leader but I feel that I have played a little more cricket. We are going through a transition. There are a lot of new bowlers coming in. So it’s my responsibility to help them and guide them in whatever way I can. So yeah, it’s always good that when we have certain conversations, what do we have to do in certain scenarios, it feels great.”

Bumrah gave India timely breakthroughs on the final day of the Visakhapatnam Test, trapping Jonny Bairstow lbw in the final over before lunch, and then breaking a half-century stand for the eighth wicket by catching Ben Foakes off his own bowling. After the game, Rohit Sharma was asked if Bumrah was a luxury to have in the team.

“Yeah, it is [a luxury to have Bumrah]. I mean, look, you know, he’s a champion player for us,” Rohit said. “It’s been a while, you know, that he’s doing the job for the team. But yeah, I mean, when you win a game like that, you know, you’ve got to look at the overall performance as well. We were good with the bat and then obviously we know that winning a Test match in these kind of conditions is not going to be easy. We wanted our bowlers to step up and they did that.”

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