Jasprit Bumrah: Stressed, but not in distress
CHENNAI: Jasprit Bumrah will have to wait until November to play a Test at home. The pacer was on Tuesday ruled out of the series against South Africa starting in Visakhapatnam on October 2. The BCCI in a statement said he has sustained a minor stress fracture on his lower back and will undergo rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy.
The team management isn’t fretting over it and handling the situation cautiously. The problem was detected during a routine radiological screening, done before the start of a season as part of the workload management programme.
While the BCCI statement didn’t mention the level of injury, one understands it is minor and rest will be enough. Such injuries are common among fast bowlers across the world but considered dangerous as they have the potential to keep them on the sidelines for long. Lakshmipathy Balaji was the first Indian pacer to suffer a stress fracture and took the field only after his action was remodelled.
Sources in the know indicated Bumrah has been advised to skip the three-Test series as a precaution. It is reliably learnt that if need be, the team is prepared to rest him even for the two Tests against Bangladesh in November. In 2020, India tour New Zealand and Australia for series that are part of the World Test Championship. The WT20 is sandwiched between those two trips.
However, the nature of injury should worry India. Ever since Bumrah became an all-format bowler in 2018, the team has been careful in managing his workload, particularly after the injury during the tour of England last year.
Soon after that, the speedster was rested for Tests against the West Indies. Earlier this year, he was rested for limited-over assignments in Australia and New Zealand. After the World Cup — where he played with a small niggle — he was rested for the T20I and 50-over series in US and the Caribbean.
At the NCA, the BCCI’s medical team will identify how the injury occurred and the reason behind it. They will then work on the remedy. Ramji Srinivasan, who was India’s strength and conditioning coach between 2007 and 2013, explained the normal procedure that is followed in such cases.
“The recovery period becomes very important because you need to give him adequate rest. Then the strengthening session will begin and it will depend on his level of stress fracture. Each body is different and Bumrah is a natural athlete. So he will monitored accordingly. After that comes the bio-mechanics part where minor corrections might be made to his action (if need be), especially the shoulder and hip positioning,” he said.
While injuries of such nature require a minimum of two months to heal completely, considering the fact that Bumrah has established himself as one of the most lethal bowlers, India will be wary of his workload management. They have in the past not been entirely revealing in terms of injuries to players, and that has only come back to bite them. Whether this injury stays minor or not, time will tell.