Huge fan of Bumrah, don’t want a thing be changed in his unorthodox action: Ambrose

By Bharat Sharma

PTI, Jun 20, 2024, 11:29 AM IST

Jasprit Bumrah (Credit: X / @BCCI / File)

Bridgetown (Barbados): Curtly Ambrose is a huge fan of Jasprit Bumrah and despite the Indian spearhead’s struggles with stress fractures in the past, the Caribbean legend would not want to change anything in his unorthodox action as he feels every fast bowler takes the field with a risk of getting injured.

Bumrah, arguably the best all-format pacer in the game right now, has had his fair share of back problems and underwent a surgery in March last year. After a long rehab, Bumrah made a comeback ahead of the ODI World Cup in India in November and he has not looked back since then.

The 30-year-old can get wickets in a T20 at any stage of the game and in the longest format, he has the ability to strike with both the new and the old ball, more so when it is reversing.

In a telephonic interview with PTI, Ambrose said Bumrah should not change a thing unless he sustains a serious injury.

“What I can tell you something about Jasprit Bumrah, I’m a big fan. Right from ever since I saw him the first time. He’s so unconventional but highly effective. And that’s what I like about him. When you look at traditional fast bowlers, you wouldn’t look at Bumrah, he’s so unorthodox.

“He has done a great job for India and still doing a great job in all formats. I met him a couple of years ago when India played in Antigua. He’s someone I’ve always enjoyed watching because he’s so different,” said Ambrose who is involved with promoting the ongoing T20 World Cup here.

Bumrah’s open-chested action does put pressure on his back but Ambrose believes every fast bowler has to deal with risks like that.

“From my little experience, there are no two bowlers who are exactly alike. Bowlers may have similarities but they are never exactly alike and we all have our different styles everyone is different.

“In terms of his longevity, in terms of injuries, (for) every fast bowler, there is always risk of being injured. But at the same time you can’t go out there thinking that way.

“You’ve got to go out there and do the job to the best of your ability and whatever happens, happens. The only way he should change is if he, may be, sustains a serious injury or has to re-model his action or something,” said the 60-year-old who played 98 Tests for the West Indies taking 405 wickets.

Ambrose, who troubled the world’s best batters with the extra bounce he created because of his 6″7′ frame, also doesn’t believe that the stress on Bumrah’s back is only because of his action.

“I’ve never been through it (stress fracture). So it would be unfair for me to even try to say what to do. I will leave that for the medical expert. I don’t think Bumrah’s stress comes totally from his action.

“You can look at Ian Bishop, he had a perfect action and he also had stress fracture,” reasoned the cricketer from Antigua.

Too much cricket being played, Test cricket is real cricket

The international calendar is busier than ever before with T20 leagues around the world taking a lot of space. Ambrose acknowledged that the game has changed drastically and too much cricket is having an adverse impact.

“The game has become a bit more commercialised. Too much cricket is being played as well. Players are leaving from one series to the next, there is franchise cricket as well. Guys could get burnt out.

“It’s still exciting, there are wonderful players around but too much cricket is being played and that to me would be a bit of a concern,” said Ambrose.

You can only get legendary status by excelling in Tests

The fearsome pacer from Antigua played plenty of limited overs cricket but for him Test cricket is the only format that produces legends.

“I’ve always preferred Test match cricket over anything else. I’ve played ODIs, I’ve played four-day cricket, but for me it isn’t international cricket. Test match cricket for me is a real cricket.

“I believe at the end of a career, if you’ve been judged, if you want to become a legend, you have to play Test cricket. You would not become a legend playing ODIs or T20s. There is talk about Tests dying, I don’t really think so.

“…the powers that be, need to do something to make Test match cricket a little more attractive and we’re going to be okay. But Test match cricket is not going anywhere,” he asserted.

Ambrose was at his peak in the 1990s and relished his battles against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar. In modern-day cricket, he would have loved to test himself against Virat Kohli, Joe Root, Babar Azam and Kane Williamson.

“When I played, I thrived on challenges. In every team, there were at least a handful of great batsmen. And you know, with a reputation as well. So for me, they tend to bring the best out of me when I play.

“To dismiss them, gives me more pleasure than dismissing numbers 9, 10, 11. You talk about these guys, they are great players (Kohli and Co). It would be nice to play against them but having said that, I’ve played against some greats in my time as well,” he said.

On the ongoing T20 World Cup, he is happy to see the smaller teams like the USA and Afghanistan surprising the biggies of the game.

“Well, prior to the start of the World Cup, I predicted some upsets and so far we’ve seen a few. So, I am quite happy for that, it makes the tournament more interesting as opposed to all of the big teams just running away,” added Ambrose.

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