The Indian cricket team, led by Virat Kohli, will be aiming to break their jinx in Australia when they begin their series on November 21 with the Twenty20 Internationals. However, India will be determined to win their first Test series in Australia and former pacer Damien Fleming has pointed out that Jasprit Bumrah holds the key.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Fleming said, “He (Bumrah) is the real X-factor - 28 wickets in six Tests. I have seen him in the IPL. He has that unorthodox action, a stuttery run-up, a weird run-up but I think for batsmen you don't get a real good sight of the ball, but he has got pace and bounce and has a great yorker that I think he will utilise particularly against the tail. Just with that weird action, I have noticed he can swing the ball away from right handers now. He has actually upskilled himself as well.”
Bumrah has made an excellent start to his Test career and played a vital role in India’s victories in South Africa and England. During the Johannesburg Test, Bumrah picked up 5/57 and gave India a wonderful win over South Africa. He finished the series with 14 wickets. In Trent Bridge against England, Bumrah gave India a rare moment of glory when he picked up 5/85 to give the side a 203-run win.
Bumrah will have happy memories of Australia. He made his ODI and Twenty20 International debut in 2016 and immediately made an impression. In the fifth ODI in Sydney, he picked 2/40 as India avoided a 5-0 whitewash. In the Twenty20 series, Bumrah picked up six wickets at an average of 17 as India whitewashed Australia 3-0.
Potent pace attack
In the squad for the Test series, India have all their bases covered when it comes to pace and bounce. Ishant Sharma’s experience, Bumrah’s lethal Yorkers, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s swing, Mohammed Shami’s pace, Ravichandran Ashwin’s brilliance, the unyielding accuracy of Ravindra Jadeja and the chinaman of Kuldeep Yadav. Fleming argues that India’s attack is potent.
“That's the factor they probably haven't had before - a pace battery that could unsettle tails. That's as impressive a pace attack that I have ever seen India bring out to Australia. They are experienced now, too. They will have two unlucky quicks. It's a real luxury. That's good for them,” Fleming said.
The right-arm pacer, who took a hat-trick against Pakistan in 1994, was all praise for Bhuvneshwar and compared him with England’s James Anderson. “I love watching Bhuvi Kumar because, probably with James Anderson, they are the best swing bowlers in the world. He has the skills where he can bowl outswingers and inswingers to right and left-handed batsmen. When he (Bhuvi) first started, he lacked a yard or two in Test cricket, but he has increased his pace a little bit in the past two years,” Fleming said.