The emergence of Jasprit Bumrah has been one of the stories of Indian cricket in 2016. From making an impact in Australia in January, where he helped India bounce back from a trouncing in the ODIs to sweep the T20s, to lifting the team to an unlikely victory in a must-win game against Bangladesh in the World T20 in March after he had begun badly with the ball and in the field, he has shown he can deliver when the odds are not in his favour. Following another match-winning performance against Zimbabwe on Wednesday, Bumrah said it took a change in temperament to get him to where he is today.
"When I started to play cricket, I used to be very aggressive, I used to do stupid things. But the more I played, I realised the calmer I am, the better it is for me when I bowl", Bumrah told ANI. "I tried to be cool, so the mind would work more. And if you use your brain, then it will help you to bowl well as well."
Bumrah displayed his wicket-taking ability in this series; he has nine wickets in three games, including two four-fors, striking every 17.2 balls. He said he focused on "containing the batsmen", as he often looks to do in the shorter formats, and the wickets followed.
"Whenever I try to take a wicket, I never get a wicket. So I just try to contain the batsmen in the shorter format," he said. "Whenever you're bowling well and you try to contain, the batsmen take some risks, and in that manner, you'll get a wicket. That was my basic plan - not to go for the wickets, but just bowl in the correct areas, so that would help me take a wicket."
Bumrah's natural ability to bring the ball in to right-hand batsman makes his yorker dangerous, but on Wednesday he also got the odd ball to straighten and that fetched him wickets. Bumrah credited his coaches in first-class cricket and the IPL for the new addition. "Earlier, I didn't have that ball, I only used to bring it in. But after playing the IPL and first-class cricket, I have learnt quite a lot with the experienced coaches," he said at the post-match press conference. "I have developed this ball over the years, which is helping me as that gives me more options to dismiss the batsman."
Most of all, the surface for the third ODI demanded that he stay patient, he said. "It's always good when the ball is moving, you can try all your variations, you can try all your lines, the outswinger, the inswinger, incutter, outcutter. But on this wicket, there wasn't as much help as in the previous two matches. So over here, we had to be a bit more disciplined and not try anything [too varied].
"So I think we were trying to stick to the basics, and bowl a normal line and length and not give the batsman any room. Don't give them runs so that they try to play some aggressive shots and that will give us the best chance to take a wicket."
Bumrah has become a regular in the Indian attack in limited-overs internationals over the past six months, a period in which he has had a chance to play four times as many T20Is - as well as the IPL - as ODIs. Prior to the Zimbabwe series, Bumrah had only played one ODI, his debut in Australia. While Bumrah acknowledged that the two formats provided very different experiences, he said he personally did not make big changes for each. "In T20 cricket, the mindset is different because you only get four overs. Mostly, you get two overs upfront and two overs at the death. That's a different ball game; the batsmen are more attacking in that.
"In this, there are 50 overs, so the batsmen sometimes take their time to play their innings. But I keep the same mindset. I try to stick to my strengths and try to do whatever I know. I try to do nothing out of the box. That helps me and I'll try to stick to that."