Jasprit Bumrah and the slower ball

How Bumrah took Ollie Robinson at Lord's.

Jasprit Bumrah is a good bowler. I don't think him necessarily dismissing Ollie Robinson proves that any more than we already knew. Robinson is a handy tailorder player into a first class fringe all rounder.

Weirdly, he did make a hundred his maiden first class innings. But he's more of a bloke who sticks around. And that is what he was doing, being a nuisance. Robinson's innings crossed an hour as England looked to draw the match at Lord's versus India.

So the situation here is more interesting than the batter, but here the story is less about who and more about what.

This ball has a narrative. It was just an offcutter, but it was a magnificent off cutter, that had many chapters.

Bumrah and the short pitch

But let's talk about Bumrah the bowler for a little bit. There's a couple of bizarre things that he does that other bowlers don't. (I'm leaving out his hyper-extension, as that's far more common). He has the ability at only 85MPH to rush top-order players. That is not a normal thing. While he can go into the 90s, he often doesn't need to.

And that's because he's shortened the pitch. No one's really shortened the pitch this much for records that we have anyway, since the bowlers used to drag their foot under the old backfoot no ball law.

It was dragging the foot on backfoot no balls that killed off that superior method of calling illegal deliveries . But since the back foot no balls, bowlers haven't found a way to shorten the pitch consistently until Bumrah.

This means he's basically bowling on a shorter pitch than other bowlers. Since I first mentioned this, half a metre head start, some have talked about how that's not that much. But that's because they see a pitch as 22 yards. But it's far less than that when you're facing a bowler above 80MPH. You get to see the ball for about three to four metres, and then your eyes saccade (jump) to where you think the ball is going, as that is the only way to react to something that moves that quick. So taking half a metre away is an incredible advantage; he's basically playing his own sport.

The run and the action

He also has a short run up. International players are trying to get as much information as they can from bowlers as they're running in because it's basically impossible to consistently hit a ball over 80mph. It isn't like club cricket where you watch the ball from the bat to hand; it moves too fast. And we know from scientific tests that batters pick up other clues to fill in the gap. It's why it's easier to face bowling from a human at 80MPh than a bowling machine. Top pros are reading the bowler, fields, pitch and previous ball. The longer the run up, the more information a batter can subconsciously bank.

Bumrah doesn't give them as much of a chance to get that information. Then there's his action. This sort of tall wippy forward moving thing. It's not exactly like others. You don't face an action like this until you face him. Bowlers like Chris Woakes and Brett Lee might be tough to handle, but their actions are comfortable. Bumrah isn't.

White ball

There are trolls - at least I hope they are - who say Bumrah only bowls well for Mumbai and not India. As you may be aware, it isn't true. He doesn't take huge bags of wickets for India, but he takes consistent hauls.

On average alone he's by far the most successful Indian Test pace bowler of all time. He's played less at home than others, but even still, imagine thinking for a heartbeat this bloke isn't incredible.

But I think the lack of large Test hauls, and the impact of his white ball bowling has many people - myself included - thinking of him as a white over red player. And that's not a slight; Jimmy Anderson started that way. And in Bumrah's case, he's like real good in limited overs, so being even that good again would be incredible.

But to be a white ball bowler of his level in this era, it isn't like when Joel Garner delivered yorkers or Anderson swung the new ball violently. Now you need to have a lot of tricks. Fast bowlers are incredibly skilful now, and they have to use those talents while being accurate.

If you don't believe me, ask Shaun Marsh. That was the guy who received a freakish slower ball in a Test that landed perfectly after dropping from all the revs and caught him dead in front on a yorker length from Bumrah. That's something you can only perfect through bowling a lot in white ball cricket.

Around the wicket

For the Robinson dismissal, Bumrah comes around.

In women's cricket Shikha Pandey, Anya Shrubsole and Megan Schutt bowl massive inswingers. And I have thought for a while they should try them more often from around the wicket where they bring in the LBW, bowled and caught behind options.

A bit like off spinners. It's kind of like what left-armers bowl. They're trying to do it all the time, except with a more brutal angle; it's a really, really tough line to play.

Most male bowlers through extra pace and different bio-mechanics don't swing the ball in like this. But they can bowl off cutters from there. Not the old kind, but the slower ball version with massive revs. Delivering off cutters around the wicket at pace should work on any pitch you get purchase on.

But there is something else about Bumrah coming around the wicket, once he bowls from there, it's the international sign he's going to bounce you. And not only had he already been bouncing him from over the wicket, but he also had the whole incident with Anderson and the bouncers a few days before. So when he's around the wicket, every part of Robsinon's cricket knowledge is thinking bouncer, and obviously, that is what Bumrah starts with.

The execution

So in this over the moderately talented Ollie Robinson Bumrah has basically bowled yorkers and bouncers. And when he came around the wicket, just short balls. So Robinson is now pretty sure he knows what is coming, another bouncer, maybe, another yorker, probably.

But Bumrah changes it up, he bowls an off cutter from around the wicket, pitching it near the line of the stumps, on a good length, jagging it back in and rapping a crease bound Robinson right in front. The umpire gives it not out, which is fair.

Who would have thought a right-arm seamer from that angle would land the ball on the stumps, and also turn it enough to hit. But the DRS (hawkeye was wrong, but luckily they still had it pitching inline and hitting) overturns it.

Robinson was thinking teeth and toes. What he - or practically anyone - wasn't expecting was a delicate slow ball pitched on the stumps and straightening.


It's basically like a fast off spinner at this stage.

There's the deception of the slower ball and deviation. There's the ability to pull it off. And then there's the landing it exactly where you need to be. That is what Bumrah has done here. He's basically put everything together in one single delivery and it's perfect.

Oh, and it meant India won the Test.

This was an around the wicket delivery inspired by off spin, honed in limited overs, disguised with a cunning plan, had a sprinkling of violence and then was executed incredibly well. It was a spinner. It was quick. It was kind of everything that is Jasprit Bumrah.

A collection of all these brilliant skills in one spectacular package. There just aren't many bowlers in the world as good as Bumrah. Brains, brawn, skill, you know, the whole thing. It's art, brutal art.