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10/06/24 | 10:21 pm

Good things happen to good people: The Jasprit Bumrah phenomenon

By: Aditya Ahuja

In the world of sports, where emotions often run high and tempers flare, true character is revealed in moments of adversity. Jasprit Bumrah, the ace Indian fast bowler, has shown that his greatness lies not only in his beautiful skill but also in his beautiful character.

Yesterday, in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 clash against Pakistan, the ‘Men in Blue’, after being put in to bat first, were bundled out for 119 in 19 overs.

Although the conditions were tough for batting, defending less than a run per ball was always going to be difficult, and India couldn’t afford any misfields. But in the very third over of the chase, Bumrah bowled a short-of-length delivery on the pads to opener Mohammad Rizwan, who flicked it straight to Shivam Dube at fine leg. Dube, who only had to bend a bit, bent a touch too much and dropped an absolute sitter. It was a massive moment in the game, as a wicket there would have put the Pakistani batters under immediate pressure.

In a high-octane match, it could have been a moment of despair for any bowler, but not for Bumrah. The Indian pacer kept his calm. He did not react at all. He just turned around and headed back to his run-up.

This isn’t the first time Bumrah has shown such maturity. I can never forget the 2019 IPL final, where Mumbai Indians (MI) clashed with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in a game that went to the last ball.

Chasing a paltry 150 on a two-paced wicket, CSK stood at 108 for 4 in 16 overs, requiring 42 more to lift the trophy. Bumrah came in to bowl the 17th over against a well-set Shane Watson. The very first ball, Bumrah lined him up perfectly with a sharp nippy bouncer. Watson pulled, got hurried up big time, leading to a top edge. Rahul Chahar, who was fielding at deep mid-wicket, put it down despite running in hard. It should have been a simple catch, but Bumrah kept smiling, empathising with the youngster in such a tense moment.

That is not all. With CSK needing 13 runs off 7 balls, Bumrah bowled a delivery that should have been a routine take for the wicketkeeper, Quinton de Kock. However, the ball burst through de Kock’s hands and raced away to the boundary for four byes, bringing the equation down to 9 off 6.

In a high-stakes moment where many would have succumbed to frustration, Bumrah’s reaction spoke volumes about his character.

Even as the wicketkeeper was visibly upset, the 25-year-old walked up to him, chatted, and even shared a laugh before going away.

That night, I realised this man is truly made of gold.

Mumbai Indians went on to win that match by one run, and Bumrah was adjudged the ‘Player of the Match.’

Yesterday, India went on to beat Pakistan by 6 runs, and once again, Bumrah was named ‘Player of the Match.’

Bumrah got the opportunity to take the prized wicket of Mohammad Rizwan at an even more crucial juncture.

Good things happen to good people.

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