NEW DELHI: India’s T20 World Cup hopes suffered a big blow on Wednesday with pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah‘s back injury resurfacing in a big way, which is likely to force him to skip the marquee event in Australia in October. Indian cricket board (BCCI) sources told TOI that Bumrah had been released from the team which is currently playing against South Africa in a T20I series.
This is the second injury setback for India ahead of the World Cup following Ravindra Jadeja‘s knee injury.
“As of now, he has been ruled out of the ongoing series. He has gone to the National Cricket Academy (in Bengaluru) for rehab. The team management wants a proper assessment of his injury to see if he can be fit for the World Cup. But the injury looks bad. It is suspected he is suffering from a stress fracture. It could be a long recovery,” BCCI sources said.
While the team management is still hopeful, Bumrah’s chances of making it to the World Cup appear remote. India play their first World Cup match against Pakistan in Melbourne on October 23. TOI had reported on September 9 that BCCI was concerned about Bumrah’s fitness despite the bowler having skipped the Asia Cup due to the same injury.
Bumrah, it is understood, was picked for the T20 World Cup and the two T20I series despite not attaining full fitness. The idea behind picking Bumrah was to gradually get him ready for the World Cup by playing him in the two series at home against Australia and South Africa.
With Bumrah’s history of back injury, it was always going to be touch and go. This is the third time the pacer has been sidelined with a back injury in his career.
“This has been a persistent problem with Bumrah. This is more of a case of aggravating an injury. When he was picked for the two series at home, it was understood he will not be rushed back into playing international games,” the source said.
Bumrah was rested for the first T20I against Australia in Mohali. He bowled just six overs upon his return to international cricket since last playing in England in July. Hardik Pandya too had claimed after the first T20I that Bumrah couldn’t be rushed back in international matches.
The greater concern at the moment is a potential long layoff for Bumrah. The selectors and team management need to keep in mind that India are vulnerably placed in the race for a spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final. The recurring back injury could also put his Test career in jeopardy. India are scheduled to play another six Tests in this WTC cycle, with Australia touring India for a four-Test series in Feb-March next year.
What worries the board is that Bumrah has played just five Tests, five ODIs and five T20Is this year, besides 14 games for Mumbai Indians in the IPL. It is understood there have been discussions around Bumrah getting treated in the USA. It looks like he is likely to attain full fitness before the next year’s IPL if things don’t worsen from here.
Whether Bumrah is out of the World Cup or not, it is clear that India’s pace spearhead is down again with a hurting back. The fast bowler had just made a comeback from an injury and the breakdown raises questions on proper injury management. Injuries cannot be predicted. But at the same time, the BCCI should make a sustained effort to ensure that India’s top players are fit for major tournaments – and that doesn’t include IPL.
Choice between Shami and Chahar?
Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar are the standbys. Shami has not been preferred in the T20 format but offers experience. Chahar has been earmarked as a like-for-like backup for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. His batting prowess also works in his favour. Either of Avesh Khan or Mohammed Siraj could also make it to the standbys.