Team India’s leading fast bowler, Jasprit Bumrah, recently became the first pacer from the country to be ranked no.1 in Tests. Bumrah’s ascension came following an incredible performance in the second Test against England, where he picked 9 wickets in the game, including a six-wicket haul in the first innings.
Counted among the leading pacers in world cricket, Bumrah was handed his Test debut by former coach Ravi Shastri in 2018 during the tour of South Africa; in an interview with England’s Michael Atherton, Shastri reminisced about the phone call he made to Bumrah to inquire about his inclination towards the longest format.
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Shastri insisted that many had already dubbed Bumrah as a white-ball format without seeing him realise his potential in Test cricket.
“I remember my first call to him, it was in Kolkata. I asked him, would he be interested in Test cricket. He said that would be the biggest day of his life,” Shastri recalled.
“He was labelled as a white-ball cricketer without asking him. But I knew. I wanted to see how hungry he was. I told him to get ready, be prepared. I told him I was going to unleash him in South Africa.”
Bumrah has been leading the Indian pace attack ever since his debut in 2018 and recently became the fastest pacer from the country to reach the 150-wicket mark in the format. Shastri revealed Bumrah was excited to play Test cricket alongside Virat Kohli, who was also the captain when the pacer made his debut.
“He’s so excited to be playing and doing well in Test cricket,” said Shastri.
“He was desperate to play Test cricket with Virat Kohli. They know, at the end of the day, no one remembers white ball averages. They will always remember your numbers in Test cricket.”
Kohli captained Bumrah until the former’s resignation from the post in January 2022; Bumrah also captained the Indian team in the same year during a Test against England, where Rohit Sharma was unavailable due to Covid-19 infection.
The 30-year-old pacer was named the vice-captain of the side in the squad for the remaining three Tests against England, which was announced on Saturday. Bumrah is currently the highest wicket-taker in the series after two matches, with 15 dismissals to his name.