India batsman KL Rahul feels pacer Jasprit Bumrah has proved himself time and again and his performance in the first Test against England isn`t a “comeback”.
Bumrah had failed to pick a wicket in the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand in June. But the right-arm pacer picked nine wickets in the first Test against England.
KL Rahul backs Bumrah
Asked how he feels about Bumrah coming back to form, Rahul expressed his surprise at the question.
“Sir, I don’t know why you are saying that (Jasprit) Bumrah has made a comeback,” Rahul said at the post-match press conference.
“Every time, in every game, in every condition he has proved himself and he is our number one bowler. We are happy that he is doing what he is (has) been doing since he started playing Test cricket.
“Wherever he has played, he has been a match-winner for us. We are happy that he has done once again, what he does best,” Rahul added.
“The way we bowled in the first innings and the discipline that we showed after losing the toss and bowling first (was a takeaway). It felt like team which won the toss had an advantage and we bowled with a lot of discipline.
“How Mohammed Shami and Bumrah started and how Shardul (Thakur) and Mohammed Siraj continued, how all of them worked together and bowled in the right channels. We saw there were a lot of misses but the way they stuck to their plans was great to see and they got the rewards,” the soft-spoken opener explained.
There are times when pacers do get carried away in English conditions but what Rahul found impressive was how the Indian quartet remained in control.
“Sometimes the bowlers can get carried away when a lot is happening off the pitch and it says a lot about our bowling unit. There is a lot of experience in our bowling and they understand what exactly is expected of each one of them,” said Rahul
KL Rahul Opens on the batting unit
He also spoke about the batting unit doing well in challenging conditions with multiple rain breaks.
“It was a challenging pitch and weather conditions being as it was, going in and going out wasn’t easy for us to get our focus back. The switch on and switch off was very challenging. So it was great to see that we held our focus and in the field, I think our energy was great.
“Everything that we prepared for one and half months (post-WTC final) fell in place and hopefully we can keep getting better,” he was visibly satisfied.
On a personal front, Rahul said that he was happy playing Test cricket after more than two years as it is frustrating to sit out at times.
“From the last 2-3 series (away vs Australia and vs England in India), I have been sitting outside. The team was doing really well and I was very happy to be part of the team and seeing how we were beating teams in India and then Australia.
“So it was great to be part of it, but also very frustrating that opportunities weren’t coming. It was only practise, practise and practise and as a player you want to be in the middle and want to challenge yourself, so I kept waiting for my opportunity, so I am very happy that it came in England,” said Rahul, who prefers middle-order in traditional format.
“I was just looking forward to it and I am happy that opportunity came and in the first match and I gave a good contribution for the team.”
The first Test between England and India ended in a draw after Day five of the match was abandoned due to rain on Sunday.
Indian bowlers were right on top of England during the first Test and Rahul said the bowling unit knows what is exactly expected from them. The action now moves to Lord`s for the second match which gets underway from Thursday.