Some players just ooze class. Even when the opposition is on a rampage, you just know that they will pull a trick out of nowhere to turn the tables. They quickly assess the conditions and adapt accordingly. The body language never drops under pressure. It motivates them further as it allows them to bring their A-game to the table.
The legendary Shane Warne was a perfect example of the aforementioned traits. The pressure situations used to always bring out the best in the legendary spinner. It was almost as if he used to crave such situations so that he could own the stage entirely.
Warne made a habit out of it during his glittering 15-year international career. In the current era, the same can be said about Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
Bumrah is a perfect and rare combination of outrageous talent, impeccable game-smarts, and rock-solid temperament. Game awareness is one of the most crucial factors that differentiates a great talent from a legendary cricketer.
This is because it's not every day that you will get familiar conditions or situations. Teams work you out very quickly in international cricket, and one needs to have the zeal to constantly improve while at the same time, accessing the conditions and adjusting in real-time.
Jasprit Bumrah is the epitome of all the above, and on October 14, it was on full show against Pakistan and in front of his home fans, the legendary pacer displayed that to the hilt.
On a flat surface where there was hardly any movement, Bumrah quickly worked out that there was no point in pitching it up. He dragged his length back, and his partner at the other end, Mohammed Siraj followed suit.
The result? Bumrah conceded just 14 runs in 4 overs during the powerplay, and while he did not take a wicket, he ensured that the Pakistani openers weren't able to make use of the pristine batting conditions.
Magician Bumrah unlocks beast mode to bury Pakistan
By the time Bumrah returned for his 2nd spell, Pakistan were truly feeling the heat.
They had just lost 3 wickets within a space of 11 runs, including their skipper Babar Azam. By now, he had realised that the pitch was on the slower side, and the ball had started to turn.
Rizwan was still there, and Bumrah, like every champion bowler does, sensed his opportunity to shine and exorcise some of the demons of that fateful afternoon in June 2017.
What followed next was poetry in motion, where he left the batsman totally clueless, and the onlookers searching for the collective jaws.
Yes, THAT slower delivery, which got Rizwan, dented Pakistani hopes and united 100,000+ fans into a collective roar. The dismissal really displayed Bumrah’s game-awareness and his ability to adjust and execute his skills with precision.
Bumrah's Masterclass: Wickets, Magic, and Sheer Brilliance
The sight of the ball dislodging Rizwan's stumps and the crowd rising in unison in the background was hair-raising. And, Bumrah's leap in the air was just an epic scene of an artist at the absolute height of his powers.
But, he was not done yet. After displaying his artistry via slower ball, it was time for some poetic justice via reverse-swing. The victim was Shadab Khan, who stayed rooted to his crease as a pacy-length delivery proceeded to jag back in wickedly to shatter his stumps, and Pakistan's hopes.
And, this time, Boom took off with his imaginary wings as the entire crowd roared in complete awe of the champion artist.
Wounded Bumrah finally exorcises his demons
Bumrah has had a strange relationship with Pakistan. He had a forgettable outing against the arch-rivals in the 2017 Champions Trophy final after his dreaded no-ball, and while he did decently in the 2018 Asia Cup and 2019 World Cup, there was nothing 'Bumrah-esque' about it.
His last meeting with the Pakistanis came in that T20 WC game in 2021, which India lost by 10 wickets.
So, coming into this season, one could feel that something was cooking. He gave a glimpse of it during the Asia Cup where he treated the ball as if it was 'Alexa' by making it do whatever he wanted it to.
But, it was really on October 14 that he truly stamped his authority over Pakistan to bury the demons of Oval 2017 and kickstart a new saga of sustained glory against the arch-rivals.
On Saturday, as he walked off the ground, this brilliant bowler had all but ensured that people would now cite his example on how to turn up for your country when it matters the most; on how to outthink the opposition, and soak in extreme pressure.
It was just another day where Bumrah reminded us why he is a realization of the collective wishes of a billion Indians.
Featured Image Credit: BCCI