The Indian team management and the National Cricket Academy (NCA) medical staff are not giving up hope on Jasprit Bumrah’s participation in the T20 World Cup.
The fast bowler, who was ruled out of the ongoing series against South Africa on the eve of the opening match in Thiruvanthapuram, reported at the NCA in Bangalore on Friday and went through a series of tests to determine the extent of his injury which has been diagnosed as a “stress reaction in the back”.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Friday that Mohammed Siraj will replace Bumrah for the T20Is in Guwahati and Indore but was silent on his participation in the showpiece event.
Sources told The Telegraph that the BCCI is keeping fingers crossed and hoping Bumrah will be available at some stage during the World Cup. Board president Sourav Ganguly confirmed on Friday that Bumrah was “not out of the World Cup yet”.
The World Cup-bound squad is expected to leave on October 6 for Australia and will have a short preparatory camp in Perth before going to Brisbane for their two warmup fixtures against Australia and New Zealand. It is unlikely that Bumrah will be part of that contingent. India’s first match is against Pakistan on October 23 and the pacer has been virtually ruled out of that contest.
If Bumrah shows significant progress during the rehab in Bangalore, he can join the squad in Australia in the latter half of the tournament. How much load he will be able to take once he regains full fitness is the big question and hence much stress is being laid on the recovery process.
In case he fails to meet the desired standard of fitness by the middle of October, the team management will think of getting a replacement.
The Indian reserves, among whom are fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Deepak Chahar, will fly out with the 15-member squad and will be in Australia right through the tournament. As a backup, Siraj and pace sensation Umran Malik will also be asked to accompany the squad as net bowlers.
The NCA remains positive about Bumrah’s chances of playing in Australia.
“It would be great news even if he is available for the last two group matches and the semi-final and final. T20 cricket means bowling only four overs and there are adequate gaps between each match. With adequate rest and rehab, such back injuries generally take about four to six weeks to heal. We are keeping fingers crossed,” a source told The Telegraph on Friday.
Bumrah had suffered a lower back stress fracture in 2019 following the tour of the West Indies. He was out of action for three months and made a comeback during the tour of New Zealand in 2020. The back injury returned to haunt him in July this year after the series in England. The injury was initially diagnosed as back spasms and he returned to action during the second T20I against Australia after four weeks of rehab at the NCA.
Bumrah’s availability is crucial to India’s chances after the bowlers failed to defend 208 against Australia in the opening T20I in Mohali recently. The death over bowling also failed to meet the desired standards in their failed Asia Cup campaign.