Cape Town, Feb 9 (PTI) With his unconventional action, toe-crushing yorkers and disconcerting pace, India’s Jasprit Bumrah has taken the pitch out of equation on his way to acquiring legendary status, says fast-bowling great Dale Steyn.
Bumrah bowled India to a magnificent win in the second Test against England in Visakhapatnam, helping the hosts level the five-match rubber at 1-1.
Steyn was all praise for the premier pacer for his ability to consistently bowl wicket-taking yorkers even on docile Indian pitches, a skill that he believes only a handful of bowlers possess.
“I don’t think there’s any Test bowlers right now who are able to run in and bowl essentially wicket-taking yorkers.
“To take wickets in Test matches, there are probably a handful of guys who could do that. Trent Boult was one of that, Mitchell Starc maybe. And obviously, Bumrah,” Steyn said on Friday.
The Sunrisers Eastern Cape bowling coach was interacting with the Indian media on the eve of their SA20 title clash in Cape Town.
Reflecting on Bumrah’s effectiveness across conditions, Steyn stressed on his unorthodox but effective bowling style.
“I remember saying ages back that a good yorker bowled in India or South Africa or Australia remains a good yorker because you take the surface out of it, doesn’t matter where you bowled it.
“You take the pitch away and I think that’s one thing that he’s done really well.
“All round he’s a fantastic bowler. And it’s no surprise with his skiddy kind of action that he’s got that. He takes wickets on those docile pitches, so he’s fantastic,” Steyn added.
The South African speed merchant further lauded the depth of India’s fast-bowling talent, expressing confidence in the team’s ability to manage the workload of key players, including Bumrah.
“Being an Indian player, there’s going to be a lot of workload. There’s a lot of cricket that India plays, they’re one of the highly-sought after teams in the world.
“It seems like India don’t really miss him because the step-in bowlers are up to the standard, and it’s a great credit to the Indian cricket.”
Steyn also said the fundamentals of bowling, honed in Test matches and four-day cricket, form the foundation for success in T20s.
“I think good Test bowlers make good T20 bowlers. They have good skill in terms of like when to use a change of pace, when to use this slow ball, when to use their bouncer,” he said.
“I’m hoping that a lot of bowlers will get caught on to that and realise that the more red ball cricket that they play, the better shorter format bowlers they will become,” he said.
Voicing his support for star batter Virat Kohli amid the chatter around his absence from the Test series against England, Steyn said “family should come first and that should be the end of the story.”
Kohli has missed the first two Tests due to personal reasons and his comeback to the Indian team is expected to be delayed further as he is set to skip the third and fourth Tests too while remaining uncertain for the final match.
“I think family is your most important priority. I’m sorry, like, that’s it, you know. That’s the end of the story. Like right there,” Steyn remarked during the virtual interaction.
He added, “I’ve got three dogs, and if one dog got sick, and I was in the IPL, I’m jumping on the first plane out of there to come back to see my dog.”
Addressing Kohli’s decision to prioritise his family, Steyn expressed, “So if Virat Kohli has decided to sit at home, I don’t see any problem with that at all.”
He lauded Kohli’s contributions to Indian cricket, acknowledging his role as a World Cup winner and captain.
“The man has been a servant for India for many, many, many years. He’s won World Cup. He’s captained. I don’t know what more the man can actually do to prove himself in the cricketing world.
“But I think, at the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter about cricket. It really matters about why you play and who helped you get to where you were and how you are there.”
Kohli withdrew three days from the start of the England series citing “personal reasons”. He had landed in Hyderabad the same morning to join the Indian squad, but flew out the same day.
Steyn added, “I think that the people behind you, the people behind the scenes, are what the public don’t see. So your wife, your partner, your mother, your mom, your brother, your sister, your father, your cousin, it doesn’t really matter; those people are the ones constantly picking you up and keeping you at where you are.
“And if it means that the house is in jeopardy or something is wrong with them or something like that, then you go to them; that’s the most important thing.”