Jasprit Bumrah, the star fast bowler for Team India, just made history by being the first pacer to be ranked #1 in Tests. Bumrah’s rise was prompted by his outstanding performance in the second Test match against England, where he claimed nine wickets overall, including six in the opening innings. One of the best pacers in the world of cricket, Bumrah made his Test debut in 2018 during the South Africa tour under former coach Ravi Shastri. Shastri recalled calling Bumrah to ask about his preference for the longer format in an interview with England’s Michael Atherton. According to Shastri, Bumrah was already being referred to as a white-ball specialist, but no one had seen him reach his full potential in Test cricket. Scroll down to read Ravi Shastri Recalls His First Call With Jasprit Bumrah.
Ravi Shastri Recalls His First Call With Jasprit Bumrah
The pace sensation Jasprit Bumrah was “desperate and hungry” to play Test cricket, and former India head coach Ravi Shastri always understood this since the pace sensation never liked being labeled as a “white-ball specialist.”. According to the ICC Test rankings, Bumrah is the first bowler from India to hold the top spot. The 30-year-old’s speed was on full display as he amassed an incredible match total of 9/91, crucial to India’s victory in the Vizag Test that leveled the series. Along the way, he set a new record for the fastest Indian to reach 150 Test wickets.
Speaking with former England captain Michael Atherton, a writer for “The Times,” Shastri recalled that he had spoken with Bumrah, who had informed him that playing a Test match would be the “biggest day” of his life.
Shastri said, “I recall making my very first call to him from Kolkata. I inquired if he would be keen on playing Test cricket. He said that would be the biggest day of his life. Without question, he was called a white-ball cricket player. However, I was aware. I was interested in his level of hunger. I advised him to prepare himself. I promised him that I would let him loose in South Africa.”
In January 2018, Bumrah played his first Test match in Cape Town against South Africa.
“He’s thrilled to be participating and performing well in Test cricket,” Shastri remarked, refuting the idea that Bumrah was limited to his abilities with the Mumbai Indians in the white-ball game.
Shastri emphasized the importance of Test cricket and the lasting legacy it leaves behind in response to the criticism. He said, “He was itching to play Test matches with captain Virat Kohli. They are aware that nobody remembers whiteball averages at the end of the day. Your Test cricket numbers will live on in their memory forever.”
“They are aware that nobody remembers whiteball averages at the end of the day. They’ll never forget your Test cricket numbers,” he declared.
Ravi Shastri Saw Kohli as an uncut diamond
Shastri, who became the head coach after taking over as national team director in 2014, also gave some reflections on his time in that position, highlighting the change in emphasis from individual brilliance to collective brilliance.
Regarding Virat Kohli as an “uncut diamond,” Shastri claimed to have recognized the Indian captain’s talent from an early age.
He said, “Although there was a lot of individual talent, I preferred to see collective talent. I saw an uncut diamond in Virat Kohli and wanted to win and elevate Test cricket. My attention was fixed on Kohli when he was captain, MS Dhoni. Early on in my second month, I told him to “watch, observe, and be ready (for the captaincy).”
Shastri was grateful for Kohli’s enthusiasm for Test cricket, his desire to take on new challenges, and his ability to play tough cricket.
He continued, “Kohli was absorbed in the Test match. He had a lot of passion. He was ready to put in the hard work and play competitive cricket, which aligned with my philosophy. You need to play with a no complaints and no excuses mentality when you play Australia or Pakistan. When it came to building a strong pace force, he and the former skipper were always in agreement. The rest is history as India drew five-Test series in England and won two Test series in a row in Australia.”
“We had the same idea and desired a succession of quick bowlers. He was prepared for a fight. He desired to play aggressively. We let everyone loose in the nets. Anyone might be bounced the shit out of you. He was the first player to accept it; he was willing to appear unattractive in the nets, and others started to think differently. In response to criticism of India’s 40% income share of the ICC,” Shastri proposed a cautious strategy.
Although he acknowledges India’s economic contribution to the game, he suggests allocating a percentage of the proceeds to aid underdeveloped nations.
“They can use a portion of the forty percent to aid particular nations that require it,” remarked Shastri.
He continued, “Although I haven’t had those discussions, I would bear that in mind. One way to look at it is to ask, “Who helped us when we were in the dumps?”However, I would contend that we should wait and observe how Test cricket and the global game develop.”
Speaking on the future of cricket formats, Shastri is adamant that T20 should be the “vehicle” for the sport’s international expansion.
In his ideal world, cricket would follow the football model and include a thriving T20 franchised circuit, ICC World Cups, fewer bilateral international matches, and Test match cricket between nations that had the necessary infrastructure.
“T20 is modeled after football. It will take place. Be prepared for it because it’s inevitable,” he advises.
“That money will help Test cricket continue, but only if it is Test cricket, which means you need the best players available and the strongest teams competing against one other. It’s not Test cricket unless it’s best versus best,” he said in conclusion.