The Indian captain Virat Kohli made two changes in the team for the third Test. The inclusion of Rishabh Pant was regarded as an ‘obvious’ one as the performance of Dinesh Karthik in the first two Tests was abysmal and the team desperately needed a fresh face to forget the debacles of the two defeats.
Then omission of Kuldeep Yadav was also certain as India learned the perils of playing two spinners the hard way in the second Test. But the question was who would replace Kuldeep? Umesh Yadav who bowled decently in the first Test and was an essential cog of the Indian team that massacred opponents in the grand home season last year was overlooked and interestingly Jasprit Bumrah who recently got healed from an injury was picked ahead of him.
This decision made it clear that Bumrah who made his Test debut just eight months back has become India’s preferred bowler in Tests when the team already has some experienced bowlers such as Umesh Yadav in the squad.
But why is Kohli so adamant about playing Bumrah? On the surface, it may look as if Bumrah’s unconventional bowling action worked in his favor but the real reason behind Kohli’s faith in Bumrah lies in his mentality.
On the eve of the first day of the third Test, Kohli told the media that Bumrah has a really aggressive mindset and Kohli’s love affair with aggression is well-known. The Indian captain also said that the right-hand bowler bowls the right lines and lengths and is consistent in his bowling which is required in Test cricket.
In his three Test appearances so far, Bumrah has claimed 14 wickets in six innings at an average of 25.21 and was touted as one of the few good things that emerged for India from the Test series against south Africa earlier this year.
The pace bowler has already become one the leading bowlers in the world in the shorter format of the game and now has emerged as India’s strike bowler in Tests as well.