Jasprit Bumrah finished 2018 as the highest wicket-taker across all formats in the year. The fast bowler, who helped India win the third Test in Melbourne by 137 runs by picking up a nine-wicket haul, took 78 wickets in this year.
Having only made his Test debut against South Africa in Cape Town in January, the 25-year-old from Gujarat finishes a stellar 2018 with 48 wickets from nine Tests at an average of 21.02.
Bumrah took 48 wickets in 9 Tests, 22 wickets in 13 ODIs and 8 wickets in 8 T20I matches. He went past Kagiso Rabada, who has taken 77 wickets in 2018. The South African took 52 wickets in 10 Tests, 23 wickets in 14 ODIs and 2 wickets in 2 T20Is.
In his first Boxing Day Test, he ripped apart the Australia batting order in the first innings with six wickets and then picked three in the second to take India to victory.
Bumrah said he had always dreamt of playing Test cricket and it was a “great feeling” for him to help India win such a big match against Australia Down Under.
“To play Test cricket is a great feeling: be it Boxing Day or any other day. I always wanted to play Test cricket. I made my India debut in Australia, so great feeling. I am really happy to contribute to team’s success,” Bumrah said after receiving the man-of-the-match award.
Indian former batsman VVS Laxman has drawn Bumrah’s exceptional bowling performance with Pakistan pace legend Wasim Akram.
“He almost reminds me of Wasim Akram. For me, Wasim Akram was the toughest bowler I have faced because of the amount of variations he had and the control he had over those variations. Bumrah has got those variations just like Wasim had,” Laxman, who has scored 8781 runs in 134 Tests at an average of 45.97, VVS Laxman told ESPNCricinfo on Sunday.
“What I liked was not even once did he lose control, or did he look as if he was ineffective. That shows on how much he was worked hard on his fitness, how skilful he is, and how much control he has got with his bowling,” former India batsman VVS Laxman added.
For me, the hallmark of a bowler is, is he executing the plans he has got for each and every batsmen? Right from ball one, he’s on the money. He knows where he has to land the ball, and he does that efficiently with the variations he has got.
So, one thing that makes sure Bumrah is way ahead of other bowlers in international cricket, especially in Test match cricket, is the amount of variations he’s got.”
Laxman heaped praise on Bumrah’s contribution across all formats. “You can’t take anything away from Jasprit Bumrah. He has been sensational the entire year. In fact, he would be the player of the year along with Virat Kohli. Kohli in the batting department and Bumrah in the bowling department have been sensational for India,” he said.
Laxman also singled out Cheteshwar Pujara’s contribution in the MCG Test. The Saurashtra batsman’s 106 off 319 balls in the first innings was criticised by many former Australian players including Ricky Ponting, but it proved to be the difference in the match, with a deteriorating pitch making run-scoring difficult for the batsmen.
Pujara was also involved in a massive 170-run partnership for the third wicket with captain Virat Kohli.