Bumrah rises to the top – Is he the best Test bowler of this era?

He’s just 12 Tests old. And he’s already reached the No.3 spot in the ICC rankings for Test bowlers. This is not surprising, though. Jasprit Bumrah has been a man on fire.

In the recently concluded Test series between West Indies and India, Bumrah bowled with venom and ended the series with 13 wickets at a stunning average of 9.23. This included a hat-trick and two five-wicket hauls. Bumrah had the West Indian batsmen hopping all over the place for the most part and they had no answers to the outstanding skills on display.

With his haul in the series against the West Indies, Bumrah now has 62 wickets in just 12 Tests at an average of 19.24 with 5 five-wicket hauls. He has also now become the first Asian bowler to take five-wicket hauls in South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies.

Bumrah’s sensational display in the West Indies impressed former West Indian bowling greats Andy Roberts and Curtly Ambrose. Both of them consider Bumrah to be the best Indian fast bowler they have seen and, in fact, felt they saw glimpses of themselves in Bumrah.

That is high praise indeed and perhaps no other bowler in the current era deserves it more.

Bumrah has been, after all, equally effective across formats. Long before he dazzled everyone in the Test format, he has been a potent weapon in limited overs cricket for a while. His performance in this year’s ICC World Cup in England – 18 wickets in 9 matches at 20.61 – is a great case in point. Bumrah is currently ranked No. 1 in the ICC ODI bowler rankings and nobody else deserves that spot more.

It is no surprise that Indian skipper Virat Kohli is all praises for Bumrah and can’t stop gushing about him.

“He [Bumrah] confuses you with angles, with swing, he’ll set up for the out-swinger, then bowl the in-swinger, and it’s coming at pace, and then he can hit you with bouncers as well. I think he is the most complete bowler in world cricket right now,” Kohli was quoted as saying at the post-match presentation of the second Test between West Indies and India.

What Kohli has said is spot on. Bumrah’s skills are unique. When he’s running up to the crease, it never looks like he will be bowling fast. But he is consistently in the 140 km/ph range and always making the ball talk. Facing up to Burmah is a challenge for any batsman today. And it’s no wonder that he is being hailed as the best bowler of the current era. He has proven himself worthy of that tag. So there’s nothing wrong in getting swept up in Bumrah’s brilliance.

It’s rather amazing that Jasprit Bumrah has achieved all this in just 3 years of international cricket. He’s still only 25 years of age and has a long and prosperous career waiting for him. What’s even better is that Bumrah is supremely fit and appears to have a mature head on his shoulders. You never see him get overwhelmed or carried away with any situation.

If this young bowling sensation can maintain his fitness and continue half the form he has already shown traces of, then Jasprit Bumrah may well end up as one of the greatest ever fast bowlers of all time.

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