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West Indies legend Courtney Walsh’s blunt assessment of Jasprit Bumrah: ‘You can only play if you are fit enough’
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West Indies legend Courtney Walsh’s blunt assessment of Jasprit Bumrah: ‘You can only play if you are fit enough’

Legendary West Indian pacer Courtney Walsh had only one piece of advice for India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah: stay fit. Bumrah, who is currently regarded as one of the best all-format bowlers in the world of cricket, is blessed with a unique action that he uses to good effect to rush the batters. His release point is further forward than most pacers, making it all the more difficult to adapt to his length and pace variations. However, the same action is also one of Bumrah’s biggest problems. It subjects his body, especially his back, to tremendous stiffness, making him prone to injuries.

Bowler Jasprit Bumrah (PTI) of Mumbai Indians

A career-threatening stress fracture in the back kept Bumrah out of action for over a year. He almost missed the last edition of the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022.

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However, since his comeback in August 2023, Bumrah has been excellent in all three formats.

After doing well in the Asia Cup, ODI World Cup and the Test series against South Africa and England, the right-arm pacer has carried that form into the IPL. Bumrah has taken 18 wickets in 12 matches at an economy rate of 6.21 in IPL 2024 for Mumbai Indians.

Walsh said if Bumrah stays away from injuries, he would be one of India’s key players in the upcoming T20 World Cup in June this year.

“Stay fit and have fun. The more you play, the more experience you get. It’s all about managing the injuries well. That will help him become fitter, stronger and better. You can only play if you are fit enough,” Walsh told PTI.

‘Not surprised that India picks four spinners for T20 World Cup’

India skipper Rohit Sharma last week said he wanted four spinners in the side but did not specifically mention the reason behind the move. It could be because of the slow slow wickets in the West Indies or the unusually early starts.

“India pick four spinners. I’m not surprised… it seems to be their strength,” Walsh added.

“West Indies have picked three spinners. It will be different conditions and everyone has to balance the team,” Walsh added.

Considered one of the most admired cricketers, Walsh believes that India have a quality bowling unit to complement their spinners.

“India still has good quality fast bowlers, most of the teams do too, so it will be a very competitive tournament. Majority of the teams have good quality fast bowlers and spinners. The tournament will be dominated by the bat as possible “But it’s hard to predict who will win, hard to predict which bowler will be a standout. The teams that perform well will be successful.”

West Indies are co-hosting the tournament and former captain Walsh is optimistic about the two-time champions’ chances at the T20 World Cup this summer.

“I expect them to do very well. They are a nicely balanced team and I am very optimistic that they will play quality cricket. The group is not the easiest but once we get to the super sixes the chances are very good.”

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