KINGSTON — India skipper Virat Kohli feels Jasprit Bumrah is the most complete bowler in world cricket right now and with his work ethic, the speedster has long shed the tag of being just a T20 specialist.
Bumrah was called a T20 specialist when he first burst into the scene but Kohli said the 25-year-old pacer has proved to be invaluable in all formats with his work ethic.
“He confuses with his angles, swing and pace. I think he is the most complete bowler in world cricket right now,” Kohli said after India’s 257-run win in the second Test in which Bumrah claimed a hat-trick.
“It’s really pleasing to see a guy who was tagged a T20 specialist, he came and took over the ODI scene and now Test cricket. He is proving people wrong that there is a set template for every format,” he added.
Bumrah became only the third Indian cricketer to register a Test hat-trick during his lethal opening spell in the West Indies’ first innings. And Kohli said as a captain, he is lucky to have the him in the ranks.
“He (Bumrah) definitely wants to be the best bowler in the world. He has moulded his life like that, he has moulded his discipline, his work ethic. The way he trains, the way he takes care of his diet, he has absolute control over what he is doing,” he said.
Kohli said it is difficult not to feel for batsmen who are left bamboozled by Bumrah’s pace and variations.
“There is not much you can say about Jasprit and the way he has been bowling. All we can say is that we are really lucky to have him in our team. Very rarely do you find a pack of bowlers who are hunting together, bowling for each other, bowling in partnerships,” Kohli said.
“When he (Bumrah) gets some kind of momentum then you can see what he can do with 5-6 overs with the new ball in the first innings. I haven’t seen many more lethal spells than that. Standing in slips, you feel for the batsmen,” he added.
Kohli also showered praise on Ravindra Jadeja and explained why the team management prefers the left-arm spinner over senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in overseas Tests.
“It’s the control we can bank on with Jadeja. He has probably been our most consistent and most accurate bowlers away from India. There is a reason why he is constantly playing in the XI,” he said.
“Even when the wicket is not supporting your bowling, he still gives you control. He is always in the game and that’s his USP. With the bat, with the ball and in the field there is no one better than him in the world.
“He is just in a great zone right now. He is willing to contribute for the team all the time. You can see that he wants the ball, he wants to do the job for the team,” Kohli said.
He picked Hanuma Vihari for special praise and said the Andhra batsman was the “find of the tour” for India. Vihari emerged as the top run-getter with 289 runs that included a century and two half-centuries in the just-concluded Test series in the Caribbean.
“The way he has batted under pressure. On a much, more challenging wicket here in Jamaica, I think his skills sets were outstanding,” Kohli said.
“His temperament and technique were top-notch. He countered everything that the opposition threw at him. So, very pleased with the way he has come about.”
Besides, Kohli was also pleased to see the return to form of his Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane.
“He is one of our top Test players over the years,” he said.
Kohli said India might have registered a 2-0 sweep, but the series against the West Indies was a challenging one, especially for the batsmen.
″(We were) put under pressure a few times, especially when we were batting, but we came back really nicely into the game. Just rode that tide for a bit, the pressure from opposition and then waited for the situation to get better and accumulate runs,” he said.
“That’s what Test cricket is all about. When put under pressure we find ways to come out of that situation.”
India’s next stop in the ICC World Test Championship is a three-match series against South Africa at home starting October 2 at Visakhapatnam.
“We really need to capitalise on the momentum we have got here. But it is not going to be easy, we are going to be put under pressure.”