India fast-bowler Jasprit Bumrah has credited Rohit Sharma for the space he gives him on the field, when leading Mumbai Indians and India, whenever Virat Kohli has been rested. Bumrah’s association with India’s limited-overs vice-captain, dates back to 2013 when he made his IPL debut for Mumbai Indians. The two have been a feature of India’s ODI and T20I teams since Bumrah made his India debut in January 2016, and Rohit was part of India’s Test XI when Bumrah earned his first cap in January 2018.
In his recent interview with the Times of India, Bumrah acknowledged the contribution of Rohit in his career, saying: “He’s seen me before I was an India player and he’s seeing me now. He’s seen phases that I’ve been through.”
“The thing with Rohit is, he’s never been different with me. He used to back me with a lot of space then and he does it now. He’ll come, ask me what I see or believe in, set the field accordingly and then keeps backing me up all the time. Some days it works, some days it doesn’t but it’s always so reassuring,” he added.
Bumrah also singled out the inputs he grasped from India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun and former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond.
“Bharat Arun has known me since my Under-19 days. When I went to the National Cricket Academy (NCA), that was the first time he saw me. Usually, when a coach sees a bowler for the first time, there’s bound to be some discussion on technique. In my case, there was going to be all the more reason, given the focus around my action. But when he saw me, his first reaction was – you don’t need to change anything about your action. His thinking was – if we ask the boy to change his action even minutely, we won’t know what we’re going to lose. Just allow him to be and it’ll only make him stronger. I didn’t work much with him after that for a while until I made it to the Indian team,” the No.1 ranked ODI bowler asserted.
“Then, at Mumbai Indians, I came across Shane Bond. I had come back from injuries and was looking to find my feet again and a kind of a new journey began with him. I developed a good rapport with Bond. You should ask him the number of questions I used to go to him with, all the time, asking him (how) I could add variety to my bowling. What am I lacking right now? What are the deliveries, lengths I should try exploring? New ball, old ball – what line should I be bowling? The different surfaces and what it would take to adjust to them. There would be never-ending questions. The idea was to keep improving all the time,” he explained.
Most of the fast bowlers have a word with the batsmen in a bid to disturb their concentration. But to Bumrah, those attempts are counterproductive as it deviate his primary plans as a bowler.
“That aggression is there, of course. In fact, when I started playing the game, I used to be really assertive, trying to sledge batsmen, giving send-offs. But then, as I continued playing, I realised, all said it wasn’t helping me bowl better. I would drift away from my set of plans, not be able to execute in the manner I thought and stuff like that. That’s when I began to realise something here wasn’t working. I had to channelise that aggression and let it show in my stride and delivery. Just mouthing off would make no sense. Anyway, if the ball is doing the talking, it’s enough. I don’t need to talk,” he said.