Jasprit Bumrah’s participation in the T20 World Cup next month is in doubt after his recurring back injury flared up on the eve of the first T20I against South Africa in Thiruvanthapuram.
The fast bowler will report at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bangalore on Friday to undergo a fresh round of assessment before a final call on his availability is taken.
Till late on Thursday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was silent on Bumrah’s fitness status. The Board’s medical team at the NCA, led by former Team India physio Nitin Patel, will ascertain the results of the fresh tests before deciding if he can be made available at some stage during the World Cup.
“The fresh round of tests will also ascertain the exact nature of the injury. Various theories are floating around but we don’t wish to speculate anything now,” a source told The Telegraph.
The BCCI is also mulling over consulting a specialist overseas if the need arises. As of now, he is ruled out of the ongoing T20I series and a replacement in Mohammed Siraj will soon be announced.
“Jasprit Bumrah complained of back pain during India’s practice session on Tuesday,” the BCCI said in a statement on Wednesday. “The BCCI medical team assessed him. He is ruled out of the first T20I.”
Bumrah took a break after the series in England in July because of back spasms. He went through an extensive rehab at the NCA before being declared fit. The pacer missed the Asia Cup in August and September but was picked for the subsequent home T20I series against Australia and South Africa . He played the second and third T20Is against Australia on September 23 and 25.
There is already talk that the team management had rushed Bumrah into action during the second T20I after India had failed to defend 208 in the opener. Rohit Sharma said at the toss for the first match in Mohali that his star pacer was being slowly eased back into the scheme of things.
This is Bumrah’s second serious back injury in the last three years. He was diagnosed with a “minor stress fracture in his lower back” in September 2019, following the tour of West Indies when he took 13 wickets in two Tests, an injury which kept him out for close to three months. He missed the home series against South Africa and Bangladesh.
Back injuries, like the one suffered by Bumrah, normally take a minimum of four weeks to recover and India’s opener in the showpiece event in Australia against Pakistan is on October 23, around three weeks away. Sources told The Telegraph that the BCCI or the team management haven’t been specifically told yet that Bumrah will be unavailable for the World Cup.
Such injuries are considered common among fast bowlers. Prasidh Krishna also had a similar problem and is currently undergoing rehab at the NCA.
If Bumrah does fail to attain fitness for the World Cup as is being feared, Mohammed Shami, who is in the reserves, will be his likely replacement. Deepak Chahar is another pacer among the standbys.
However, there is a possibility that Shami, who missed the two T20I series at home because of Covid-19, will delay his departure for Australia and play the ODIs versus South Africa. This will help him attain some much-needed match practice.
Ravindra Jadeja has already been ruled out of the World Cup and Bumrah’s likely absence will be major blow to Rahul Dravid’s plans.