Big blow for India, talismanic Bumrah out of South Africa Test series

The Times of India

The Times of India

Author 2019-09-25 13:08:00

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  • Jasprit Bumrah has sustained a minor stress fracture in his lower back
  • The injury, according to the BCCI, was detected during a routine radiological screening
  • Umesh Yadav has replaced Bumrah in the Test squad
NEW DELHI: Team India’s worst fears have come true. Frontline pacer Jasprit Bumrah, recently hailed as the "most complete bowler in the world" by captain Virat Kohli, has sustained a minor stress fracture in his lower back and been ruled out of the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa. The injury, according to the Indian cricket board (BCCI), was detected during a routine radiological screening.

"Bumrah will now undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and will be monitored by the BCCI medical team," the board said in a statement. The bowler, incidentally, had been rested for the justconcluded T20 International series against the touring South Africans. "It’s very minor but nobody wants to take any risks with Jasprit. There’s stress in the lower back region and it’s important to monitor it closely in order to assess future repercussions. That’s the reason he has been given a break," sources told TOI.

"Timely breaks keep the body well rested. Cricketers play all year round and it’s constant hard work, given all the onus on fitness and the different formats they have to play in. A break will do him good and protect him better."

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Bumrah’s atypical bowling action tends to raise eyebrows every time he takes the field. Though he has found unusual success with it, being able to generate extreme pace off a short run-up along with some serious inswing, it also puts the 25-year-old’s body at risk of an early breakdown.

The action, in effect, is a double-edged sword. He pushes both arms out in front while delivering the ball and hyperextends the elbow, all in a whipping motion, somehow gaining ability to "push" the ball through or dip the ball at pace to deceive batsmen.

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He has recently added another feather, being able to confound batsmen with the outswinger too. In the death overs, he tends to mix his length and pace, which, along with the ability to bowl yorkers seemingly at will, has made him extremely potent across formats. Bumrah is currently ranked No. 3 in the ICC Test bowling rankings and No. 1 in ODIs.

But Bumrah’s tendency to land his front foot straight also puts pressure on his lumbar vertebrae, which consist of five vertebrae that form the spine in the lower back.

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The bowler, though, has proved to be fit and resilient, raising hopes that he could "manage" his action without any long-term injury repercussions. Since his Test debut against South Africa in Cape Town in Jan 2018, this is only the second time he has missed a Test series, or a part of it, because of injury — a thumb injury in England last year saw him miss the first two Tests.

Captain Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have been mindful of Bumrah’s issues and have tended to often wrap him in cotton wool, resting him for the limited-overs games in West Indies, Australia and New Zealand too, apart from the T20I series against South Africans at home this time. Bumrah’s absence will no doubt be a big blow for India.

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India’s revised Test squad:

Virat Kohli (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Shubman Gill.

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