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‘The most complete fast bowler right now’: Former India pacer compares Jasprit Bumrah to Wasim Akram

NEW DELHI: Former cricketer Laxmipathy Balaji has compared current Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah to the legendary Wasim Akram. Balaji believes Bumrah is Asia’s next best pacer, second only to Akram.
Balaji pointed out the similarities between Akram and Bumrah. Both are known for their accuracy, yorkers, pace, and change of angles.
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“Wasim bhai, the ultimate.They both have identical traits, they have changed the dynamics of fast bowling,” Balaji said in an interview with Hindustan Times.
“Their upper bodies are strong, they have hardly any follow-through. They don’t gain anything in the run-up. Everything happens from their hand, their wrist, the bowling arm is dominant and they do everything with the bowling arm alone — the accuracy, the yorker, the pace and changes of pace, the changes in angle — which is why they are able to take the pitch and the conditions out of the equation. Even on the most docile surface, they bring something extra with the ball because of the work they do with their upper body,” Balaji added.

Remarking on Bumrah’s skill, Balaji stated, “Bumrah is the next best in our continent only after him. Akram sprang into consciousness with some unplayable balls and three wickets in the 1992 World Cup final. It was after that, until 2003, that he chased and courted greatness. I feel this is the right time for Bumrah to chase greatness over the next decade, particularly if he can single-handedly win India this World Cup.”
Balaji also praised Bumrah’s impressive comeback following back surgery. He believes that Bumrah has returned as a more formidable bowler.

Balaji shared, “I know science has become so much more advanced, technology has improved massively, but to be back playing cricket less than six months after back surgery, with a foreign object in your body, is fantastic.”
Balaji is highly impressed with Bumrah’s current performance, considering him more dangerous than before his surgery.
Balaji elaborated, “I mean, guys lose pace, they lose a bit of confidence when they return from any surgery. But this man, he has become even better than before, which is saying quite a bit. One of the more noticeable things about his bowling is that he has added a late away-swinger from the right-hand batter to his repertoire.”
He continued, “Earlier, his stock delivery was the one that came back in. But clearly, during the rehab process, he didn’t allow the grass to grow under his feet. He thought about his bowling, he thought about what he needed to do to become even more lethal. Hence this new, late away-swinger.”
In Balaji’s eyes, Bumrah is presently the most complete fast bowler in the game. He praised Bumrah’s versatility across different formats of the game.
“He is just the most complete fast bowler right now. Look at him — Test cricket, white-ball cricket, doesn’t matter. New ball, he will get the job done. Old ball, he can reverse it phenomenally. Middle-overs in limited-overs games, his variations and his repertoire make him a wicket-taker, not someone who just contains the flow of runs. If there is a more versatile and dangerous fast bowler right now, I don’t know who that is,” Balaji concluded.
Balaji’s insights underscore the high regard and expectations placed on Bumrah as a pivotal player in Indian cricket.

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