Sports Cricket 28 May 2016 Exclusive | 'Do ...

Exclusive | 'Don’t know why people think I bowl only yorkers,' says Jasprit Bumrah

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NOEL D'SOUZA
Published May 28, 2016, 7:52 pm IST
Updated May 28, 2016, 7:57 pm IST
Having achieved success in such a short span of time, Bumrah, who is quite a mamma’s boy, feels all the fame has not affected him and is still the same lad at home. (Photo: BCCI)
 Having achieved success in such a short span of time, Bumrah, who is quite a mamma’s boy, feels all the fame has not affected him and is still the same lad at home. (Photo: BCCI)

Mumbai: It’s been a hectic five months of non-stop cricket for young Indian pace machine Jasprit Bumrah. The 22-year-old has just completed a fairly good IPL season for Mumbai Indians, having scalped 15 wickets in his 14 appearances for the franchise. And up next, it’s the tour of Zimbabwe scheduled from June 11 to 20, with MS Dhoni leading the side.

Having achieved success in such a short span of time, Bumrah, who is quite a mamma’s boy, feels all the fame has not affected him and is still the same lad at home.

In a long chat with this correspondent, India’s latest sensation spoke about his commendable journey so far, impassive about comments of him being only a T20 bowler, his mother being the reason for him to be grounded and cricket being the sole attention now. “The girls can wait,” he said.

Excerpts from the interview…

You’ve had a fairly good IPL this season and Zimbabwe is next on the plate. Are you taking some rest right now or have you already started preparing for the tour?

After the IPL, I’ve taken a few days off because I have been playing cricket for a long time — right from October I have been playing in the Ranji trophy and then the Australia tour happened. So it was good to take some time off and be with my family. Probably after one or two days I will start my routine again.

You have been playing non-stop T20 cricket. How would you evaluate your performance till date?

Evaluation is a different thing. I only focus on the tournament I am playing, be it the IPL or anything. I learn from each and every experience. Each and every series I learn a lot, which helps me in my next tournament. The ride so far has been good.

Do you remember the time when you got a call to play for Team India?

It was a really nice feeling. I was named the standby and the selectors already told me that I was doing well. I was happy and it was a dream come true. Everybody who plays in the Ranji trophy has a dream to play for the country. I am no different from any other person who plays cricket, it was a good feeling.

How has life changed after donning India colours? Has fame and money got to you?

No, not at all, I am still the same person. I hang out with the same friends and lead the same lifestyle. But people recognise me now, that is the only difference. I do the same things like I used to do earlier as well.

Like what?

I just stay at home. I spend time with my family and friends. I don’t enjoy all this glamour. I want to do well in cricket and am not behind fame and glamour.

What keeps you so grounded despite achieving rapid success in such a short span of time?

It’s because of my family. My mom (Daljit) is a principal. Being from an educated family always helps you to be humble. I think that is a major factor and I don’t think about success too much. My constant aim is to keep improving, be a better cricketer, add new things to my armoury and be successful over there.

How much of a difference does it make to a bowler, especially at a young age, when a skipper like MS Dhoni expresses his confidence in you?

It’s always very good. It gives me the confidence to express myself because he has that self belief. I can show my capability. It also gives me the confidence to do all the things I know I can do best, back my strengths and go for it. It’s the best feeling for a youngster who has come into the side.

What really goes on in your head when you are handed over the ball in the last overs? How do you soak up that pressure so well?

I don’t try to think too much. I just try to execute the plans which we have decided in the bowlers’ meeting or the plans that were made earlier. I stick to my strengths. See, some days the plans won’t work but if you have a player-plan then you will be able to do well more often than not. Thinking about the plan and execution will help you, rather than thinking about the pressure or the outcome of the ball if I don’t bowl well.

Do you like that tag of a specialist depth bowler attached to your name? Or is there some learning still left to do?

There is a lot of learning still left to do. I have just started to play international cricket. I learn from each and every experience. When I am in the Mumbai Indians team, I learn from the support staff —Jonty Rhodes, Shane Bond and Ricky Ponting, because they have been in the international circuit for a long time. People give that tag but I always want to keep learning so that hopefully one day I can be in a good state.

With your growing rise in T20, people start calling you a T20 bowler. Does it bother you or are you happy with it?

It doesn’t matter to me what people think or what people say. I don’t pay much attention to that. I know what I have done. I have done well in Ranji trophy as well as I have played for India A. I know what I can do, where I stand.

Besides yorkers, have you thought about other deliveries that might add to your armoury further?

There are a lot of deliveries. Yorker is not the only ball which I bowl. I bowl a lot of balls like the length deliveries, in-swingers; I have a slower ball and a bouncer. I don’t know why people think I bowl only yorkers. Yorker is only one of them, which is helpful in the depth overs at any stage of it, but I work on all forms of deliveries. I talk to Shane Bond, Lasith Malinga and a lot of other people who help me to add new stuff to my bowling. Only one ball will never make you successful. If you keep on improving and adding new stuff, that will help you as a bowler. Otherwise people will know that he bowls this ball. You have to bring something new always so that the batsmen cannot predict the bowler.

And what’s your stock delivery?

My stock delivery is the normal length ball, the in-swinger.

What is your idea of aggression? Does it have anything to do with sledging?

I don’t do that quite a lot. When I first started playing cricket in school and in clubs, I used to be very angry. I used to do stupid stuff in front of the batsman. As I played more and more, I understood that the calmer you are, the better it is. You have to be aggressive because you have to show that intent to the batsman that you are always on top and you are going to get him out. But you don’t need to abuse or do stupid things to get him out.

In times of sadness, who is your go-to person who always peps you up?

My mom and my family are. Whether or not things go well, I am with my family. So my family is my biggest and constant support.

Can you name one cricketer who has been your inspiration?

There is no particular person. I used to watch a lot of cricket and I learned cricket by watching TV. I used to see and follow a lot of cricketers. I used to observe bowlers and tried copying them.

So you don’t have a bowling mentor per say?

It’s not like I don’t have a bowling mentor. See if I am in Mumbai Indians, Shane Bond is our bowling coach. I ask him a lot of questions and try to pick his brains on what kind of things I should add. Even Malinga was there, not this year, but I try to stay in touch will all of them and learn new things.

Coming to the Bumrah household, tell us about your family. Did you have always have their backing to play cricket?

Not actually, but because my family is an educated one. My sister (Juhika) is a teacher and mom a school principal. They gave me time till my graduation to play cricket. If it works then it’s good otherwise we will have to plan something else, they said. Luckily, after my exams got over everything started to fall in place.

What is life off the field like for Jasprit?

I am quite a family guy. I don’t like to go out much. My friends come over. I am quite homely like that. I watch a lot of sitcoms on my laptop like Game of Thrones, The Flash, Two and A Half Men but now whenever I get the time I watch these shows.

The fan-following definitely must have increased? What about the girls?

I have a lot time for that. Right now my main focus is on cricket. This is a building phase. If I am focussed in this period I don’t think I will face a problem in future. The girls can wait!

The road ahead is a long one for you, what is your mantra to keep achieving success?

For me, the only way to success is to keep on improving, working hard and developing your skills. Now with cameras and technology, everybody knows what you are doing in cricket. How you keep evolving and being proactive towards your game will do you good.

If not a cricketer, where would you be?

I have no idea! I have never thought about it. Probably a normal lifestyle, I would have done something in the education field.

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