Jasprit Bumrah went wicketless in the entire ODI series as India were whitewashed 3-0 by New Zealand. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Jasprit Bumrah had been sidelined for close to four-five months due to a stress fracture on his back. India's gun-bowler, who played a part in India's wins in South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies, came back in the series against Sri Lanka and played a good role. In the recent Twenty20 International series, Jasprit Bumrah picked up six wickets in five games and it included a haul of 3/12 in the final match which India won by seven runs to help India whitewash the Kiwis 5-0. However, in the subsequent three ODIs, Jasprit Bumrah went wicketless as New Zealand extracted revenge by whitewashing India for the first time 3-0. Following the ODIs, there were plenty of questions on whether Bumrah was past his prime. There were suggestions that he looked rusty after the injury layoff.
However, Mohammed Shami, Bumrah's new-ball partner, expressed shock following the end of the second day's play in the warm-up clash against New Zealand XI in Seddon Park, Hamilton as to how people can question the ability of the pacer after just two-four bad games. "How can people forget Jasprit Bumrah's numerous match-winning performances just after a couple of indifferent ODI games? I can understand we are discussing on a topic (after a certain length of time) not just after 2-4 games. Just because he hasn't performed in two games, you can't just ignore his ability to win matches. What Bumrah has achieved for India, how can you even forget that or for that matter ignore it? So if you think positively, then it's good for the player and his confidence also," Shami said.
Bumrah ended up on an impressive 2/18 in 11 overs while Shami also bowled brilliantly to take 3/17. Shami and Bumrah were well-assisted by Navdeep Saini and Umesh yadav as they ended with two wickets apiece as India managed to take a 28-run lead. Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw both registered a solid opening stand to extend India's advantage at the end of the second day.
Shami didn't forget to take a dig at critics who he feels have a job to comment, forgetting that Bumrah is coming back from a stress fracture on his lower back. "As a sportsman, it's very different. From outside, it is very easy to nitpick as some have a job to comment and earn money. Every sportsman can get injured and one should try and look at the positives rather than harp on negatives. I also got injured in 2015 (knee surgery) but then bounced back," Shami said.
Mohammed Shami was rested for the two ODIs but he impressed in the warm-ups. (Image credit: Getty Images)
What baffles Shami is how people's perception changes if a player goes through a sudden slump in form. "People tend to think very differently and when you do not do well for a few games, their view point about you changes. So on our part, we shouldn't over-think," Shami said. Having been the best Indian bowler on view during the second day of the warm-up game, Shami seemed happy with kind of track that was on offer.
"It was a bit green and the wicket was damp on the first day compared to the second day. Yesterday (First Day) morning, it was challenging and we wanted to take up that challenge. Today it was drier compared to yesterday, with cloud cover, the conditions became helpful. There was good bounce and carry, so felt good bowling on a track. These kind of tracks are a rarity and since we have pacers of that calibre, we reaped its benefits," Shami said.