July 09 2020
Sultans of Swing — Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah
09 November 2018

The duo are set to be the heart and soul of India’s pace attack

The ‘Sultans of Swing’ should be waltzing in tandem in the days ahead with several important campaigns lined up.

When Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah tango, the edges are found, defences are breached, games are decided.

While it remains to be seen if both are played in the third Twenty20 International against the West Indies here on Sunday — India has already nailed the series — they will be the heart and soul of this attack, whether in the Test series in Australia, the ODI World Cup next year, or the World Twenty20 in 2019.

In fact, apart from the formidable Virat Kohli, Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah are the only cricketers at present who are automatic selections in the Indian team for all three formats.

Destructive pair

In the ODIs and Twenty20 cricket in particular, Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah form the most destructive pace bowling pair in contemporary cricket, choking the batsmen for runs, building insane pressure and striking.

Bhuvneshwar blends skill with an inane smartness in high-pressure situations, invariably out-thinking the batsmen.

The ball moves away, or darts in and is delivered at different speeds and from various angles with control.

Indeed, precision — a virtue in all formats — is the key for Bhuvneshwar.

The turning point for him was the 2014-15 season where he, guided by fitness guru Shankar Basu and bowling coach Bharat Arun, added a couple of yards to his speed without forgoing his strength — movement.

Hard transition

The transition was hard at first, Bhuvneshwar struggled in the initial stages, but once he found his rhythm, was a different beast altogether.

All of a sudden, the batsmen, used to combating him at around 130 kmph, found Bhuvneshwar swinging or seaming the ball both ways at over 140 kmph. Velocity with deviation is a potent combination.

When he is free of fitness concerns, Bhuvneshwar is a such a joy to watch.

His run-up has both ease and intent and then Bhuvneshwar’s wrist and seam positions are exemplary.

With a cordon in place, he is always a threat in Test cricket where his 63 wickets from 21 matches have come at 26.09.

And he can whip out telling yorkers at the crunch in ODIs and T20Is.

Battering ram

If Bhuvneshwar is a well oiled machine, Bumrah is more like a relentless battering ram.

Bumrah pulls his arm from so wide of his body in his action that it is incredible that he has a release that is straight with a full extension of the bowling hand.

And the batsman has to shift his sights from from wide of Bumrah’s body to a more straighter angle.

No wonder, Bumrah is hard to pick. When the batsmen react a split second late, Bumrah had done the damage.

The fiery Gujarat paceman further complicates things for those facing him with his quick-arm action.


The wiry 24-year-old Bumrah, guided capably by Arun, gets the new ball to lift and straighten and fires in quick toe-crushers at the death. He can take the pace off the sphere too, deliver the knuckle ball.

And Bumrah is such an awkward bowler to handle in Tests (he has 28 wickets in six matches at 25.57) with his ability to hit the cracks and strike the batsmen on the gloves from just back-of-a-length.

When the ‘Sultans of Swing’ team up, the batsmen often find themselves in dire straits.



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