IPL 2020: Bumrah’s on target as India’s MVP

Chandresh Narayanan/Dubai
Filed on November 6, 2020
Mumbai Indians' Jasprit Bumrah celebrates the wicket of Shreyas Iyer captain of Delhi Capitals during the qualifier 1 match of season 13 of the Dream 11 Indian Premier League. — IPL

Bumrah's delivery to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan was simply the ball of the Indian Premier League 2020 and thereby underlining his absolute class.

Whoever saw the spell by Jasprit Bumrah on Thursday night to dismantle Delhi Capitals is convinced of one thing, he is quite simply the Most Value Player (MVP) in Indian cricket currently.

One might argue that Indian captain Virat Kohli is at a higher level than any other cricketer in the country, but Bumrah’s effectiveness with the ball shows why he is the MVP. His delivery to dismiss Shikhar Dhawan was simply the ball of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 and thereby underlining his absolute class.

Bumrah’s battle with Mohammed Shami of Kings XI Punjab earlier in the tournament, in that epic Sunday night classic of two Super Overs, where two of India’s best bets with the new ball matched either skill for skill, was also an absolute delight.

Let us leave it to Shane Bond, Mumbai Indians bowling coach to explain to us quite simply what it means to have Bumrah in our midst currently. "Jasprit, it's a privilege to watch. The best T20 fast bowler in the world goes about his work," Bond said in a video posted by Mumbai Indians on Twitter.

Bumrah has really risen in stature this season for Mumbai, by taking over the role of being the enforcer quite wonderfully. He was not taking the new ball earlier in the season. But he was still very effective and is now the highest wicket-taker currently in the tournament. Bumrah has been aided very well by New Zealand’s Trent Boult. Together Boult and Bumrah have been quite simply the dynamic duo who have been the hit squad that Mumbai’s captains Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard have depended on.

“When you have bowlers like Bumrah, it makes your life easy," Sharma said after his side made it to the final of the IPL.

Pollard believes Bumrah has taken over the mantle from Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga who was the go to man all these years. Malinga missed this ongoing season of IPL owing to personal reasons and in his absence Australia’s James Pattinson stepped forward and has acquitted himself well.

"We have comfort in him (Bumrah),” said Pollard. “He's (Bumrah) a world-class cricketer. He has been number one in a couple of formats for a long period of time. He has learned and has gone leaps and bounds for us at Mumbai Indians in a run of while."

Bumrah is in many ways the inheritor of the legacy of India’s former spearhead Zaheer Khan. Zaheer led the Indian attack for over a decade and a half. Since Zaheer’s retirement, India took time to find an ideal replacement and now have a full fledged pace attack led by Bumrah.

Now Zaheer is Director of Cricket at Mumbai Indians and has been keeping a close eye on Bumrah’s growth. "Bumrah is a match-winner and that's the responsibility with which he walks onto the field with and he's been doing it fantastically well for us (Mumbai)," Zaheer praised in a video posted by Mumbai Indians.

The man himself tries to keep it as simple as possible. In all his interactions he comes across as being very balanced.

“I am okay with not getting wickets and winning the tournament. I don't look at the wickets. I have been given a role, and I try to execute that. Take it ball by ball,” said Bumrah. “I usually don't focus on the end result. Whenever I have tried to focus on the end result, it goes downhill.”

In a country obsessed with batsmen, Bumrah could well emerge as the poster boy for bowlers and make them heroes as well. But that still seems a long time off, even though Kohli himself probably realises that bowlers win tournaments and series more than batsmen.

“Batsmen have been taking all the awards, so it's good to get it as a bowler. Ah no, I don't worry about awards. As long as the team is winning, I am happy,” Bumrah signed off after winning the Man of the Match award after the performance against Delhi Capitals.

Chandresh Narayanan is an Indian cricket author and broadcaster

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