Jasprit Bumrah continues to be the talking point of Indian cricket, present or absent from the national team, and the latest is about monitoring his workload in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Whether a powerful franchise like Mumbai Indians, for which the India spearhead plays in the IPL with a per season fee of INR 12 crore, accepts any conditions remains to be seen, but the impression is that there is need to follow the progress of Bumrah in the IPL, given the World Test Championship (WTC) is set to take place immediately after the league and the World Cup later in the year.
On Sunday (February 19), the national selectors, without a formally anointed chairman, did not name Bumrah in any of the Indian squads for the upcoming games against Australia. He wasn’t part of the Indian set-up for the remaining two Tests against Australia, and was also not picked for the three ODIs that follow.
Cricbuzz understands that Bumrah, who has been out of international action for almost five months – he last played for the country in a T20I, against Australia, on September 25 last year – has not been cleared to play by the National Cricket Academy (NCA). Over the last 10 days, Bumrah is believed to have played a couple of practice games at the Bengaluru facility of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) but the word is that the NCA managers have not issued an all-clear for him to be considered for the national call-up.
It is now apparent that Bumrah will play the high-octane IPL directly but the Indian team does not see it as an impediment to his progress. The team management actually wanted him to scale up the intensity of his workload step by step and it remains in their fitness of plans that Bumrah will play the T20 games before being part of any full-blown competitive action.
The team management, is likely to monitor his workload in the IPL. The plan has still not been spelt out but the team’s brain trust, in the BCCI, will try to oversee his progress, if not exactly remote control his work. There are instances in the IPL where the foreign boards would issue conditional NOCs, requesting the franchises not to make bowler bowl more than 24 deliveries in the nets, not to make him play a certain number of games on the trot and seek his fitness parameters regularly. A similar method may be employed by the BCCI for all bowlers, if not exactly to Bumrah alone, but certainly extra attention will be paid to him.
Meanwhile, the selection committee meeting in Kolkata was conducted without a chairman, a post that fell vacant after Chetan Sharma resigned following a sting operation. Apart from four selectors – Subroto Banerjee, Salil Ankola, SS Das and S Sharath – Rohit Sharma and convenor Jay Shah attended the meeting online from New Delhi where the second Test concluded on Sunday. The BCCI is yet to decide whether to recruit a new chairman or announce an interim chairman or make one from the existing four.
As for Chetan Sharma, the thinking in the BCCI is that he was hard-done by an unethical method of sting operation but for the sake of optics, particularly after he was heard saying some oddly weird comments like ‘injections’ and ‘players faking fitness’, it had no other choice but to ask him to resign. Chetan resigned on February 17, the second day of the Ranji Trophy final in Kolkata, but not before thanking all his colleagues, former and current.