When India lost their first wicket in their second innings with less than three overs to go before stumps, the decision to send out a nightwatchman couldn’t be ruled out. But not many expected Jasprit Bumrah to perform that role. Sure, Bumrah had the cricket world talking last week when he registered his maiden First-Class fifty, but sending Bumrah ahead of Mohammed Shami, or even Umesh Yadav led to mixed reactions.
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While many thought the move was sensible considering he was coming off a half-century against Australia A and India needed to protect Cheteshwar Pujara for a fresh day, there were some who thought India could have avoided sending Bumrah in. One among them is former India spinner Pragyan Ojha, who believes making Bumrah bat against the likes of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins with the new ball, could have spelled danger to the Indian team.
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“Bumrah with the ball is a bigger asset than going out there and batting. I would not have sent him (as the nightwatchman). Maybe I would have sent somebody else but not Bumrah because he is your number one bowler,” Ojha said on Sports Today.
“I have spoken to fast bowlers, when they tour abroad, they have an extra layer of protection in their shoes to avoid injuries while batting. Those injuries can cost you the series. Because it’s Bumrah and we have another three Tests to go, as a team he is very important for us.”
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Meanwhile, former India wicketkeeper Deep Dasgupta thought otherwise, believing that although R Ashwin could have been another contender to see the tea, through to the end of play, Bumrah being sent as nightwatchman made sense.
“I agree with the decision because defensively he is your best option unless you want to send Ashwin. The whole concept of a nightwatchman is to protect the batsman who’s out in there and those who are going to come after that,” Dasgupta said.
“If you’re looking at a defensive technique then I’d pick Bumrah over the others. I would have actually asked Ashwin if he wanted to bat as nightwatchman even though I think he’s a proper batsman. But I’m alright with Bumrah going in.”