Workload management has been one of the top agendas for the Indian team think tank in the last couple of years. Cricketers who play all three formats have been rotated and given timely breaks to ensure their optimum performance on the field. But largely the rotation has taken place in white ball cricket. The Indian selectors have preferred a full strength squad when it came to Test cricket. The only exception has been Hardik Pandya, who has been getting breaks even in red ball cricket mainly because of the rare talent he possess – India cannot afford a long term injury to their premier seam bowling all-rounder. In the same rare commodity bracket like Pandya, there is another man equally or perhaps even more crucial for Indian cricket’s future – Jasprit Bumrah.
The World’s No. 1 bowler in ODIs, Bumrah has been pivotal in India’s success in all three formats of the game in the last couple of years. Bumrah did get a much needed breather after World Cup when he was rested from the limited overs leg of the West Indies tour but according to former India fast bowler Chetan Sharma, the Indian team management should really consider the idea of resting Bumrah even from home Test matches.
“I think he should be rested (from Tests in India). We should not waste a talent like him. There’s a reason why he’s the best bowler in the world now, we shouldn’t test him in these conditions at all,” Sharma told Hindustan Times in an exclusive chat.
India have a long home season lined up which also includes three Tests against South Africa and two against Bangladesh – both part of World Test Championships.
“World Test Championship is going on and Bumrah is very important for India’s plans. There’s no need to prove it to the world that Bumrah can take wickets on Indian pitches. Ultimately we need to win and earn points,” Sharma added.
Ever since making his Test debut in South Africa, Bumrah has missed only 3 Test matches due to injury. Despite playing 12 out of 15 Tests, Bumrah has bowled the second most overs – 451.5 – among all Indian bowlers, only 4 overs less than Mohammed Shami, who has played in all 15 Tests. Only Pat Cummins, James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Josh Hazlewood have bowled more overs than Bumrah among fast bowlers since January 2018. But all of them have played more matches than Bumrah, who bowls about 38 overs per Test – the second best after Hazlewood’s 39 overs per Test.
Adding the numbers of ODIs and T20Is, Bumrah has bowled 724.3 overs in international cricket since making his Test debut, which is the most by any Indian bowler in the same period and the third most among fast bowlers in the world behind Pat Cummins (809.2) and Kagiso Rabada (797).