The most spectacular Jasprit Bumrah moment on his comeback came not with the ball in his hand. But when he leapt like a hurdler over Ravi Bishnoi’s sliding body near the boundary rope. Both were chasing the ball that Curtis Campher had paddled past the wicket-keeper Sanju Samson. Bumrah was about to glide, when a lunging Bishnoi flickered in his peripheral vision. If he had braked, he would have tripped over Bishnoi and landed awkwardly, potentially hurting his shoulder or back. So with graceful minimalism, he took off and touched down smoothly a few yards over the rope.
A ripple of applause crackled from the makeshift stands. They had thronged the leafy arena to watch Bumrah tear up Ireland’s batsmen. The result of the game—which India won by two runs on DLS after unrelenting downpour stalled India’s progress at 47/2, chasing 140—seemed largely inconsequential. All they wanted was to watch Bumrah.
They left satisfied yet dissatisfied. He was buzzing there or thereabouts his hallowed space, but not quite located it. His rhythm was intact, measured, stuttering strides striking a furious tempo through the crease. The shoulders whirred; the knees contorted furiously, the back arched un-jarringly. The intensity and impetus remained undiminished. This was almost the Bumrah of the old, before the back-injury wilderness. Well almost, but not quite. The balls did not snap and bite off the surface. It did not transform into a malevolent object in his hands. Precision of lengths wavered; accuracy of lines fluctuated. The pace hurried but did not intimidate the batsmen.