Lockdown made me realize how much I enjoy playing cricket: Jasprit Bumrah | Cricket news
How have the last five months been?
It’s been a very normal few months because I’m not the type of guy who likes to socialize a lot anyway. In fact, I was very happy, because I had just moved into my new home. Since 2013, I have never had this kind of time to spend with my family, so you can imagine what a pleasure these months were. I was able to spend quality time in my new home, spend time with my mom.
When was the last time you spent so much time with her?
Everything was going so fast these last few years that Mom didn’t even realize I’m 26 and now I’m 27. In her mind, I’m still 18 and I’m 19. The confinement made her remember things correctly (laughs). It was so good to take some time off and reflect on what has happened so far.
A new house. So did you have enough space to train and practice?
I used to stay in an apartment and even this is an apartment, only it’s bigger. One floor, one floor and only two people in the house: mom and me. So, I found myself with a lot of space to do my things, to move. Right before closing, we changed here so it was good and timely.
Did you have your personal gym and training facilities?
All of that was fixed because I had configured it. My personal gym and other training equipment, enough space to do my routine stuff. The only thing missing was access to land and for that I had to wait until it opened later.
You like to start the morning with a good run, don’t you?
I am a morning person. I love working out in the mornings, outdoors and getting out of gym sessions and all in the afternoon. In fact, I enjoy those morning runs, they are an amazing source of positive energy.
After how many days did you manage to go out into the field?
Initially, as soon as the series against South Africa was canceled, I took a break of about 15-20 days … I did nothing. Then I gradually returned to my routine workouts at home, slowly starting to work on my body. One of the things that I realized was that this would be the best time to work on aspects that need time and space, also the mental aspect. I thought of ways I could make the most of this opportunity. I realized that I would never have a moment like this again.
What happens when an elite athlete has no one around him to interact with?
In my case, it was, again, the best thing that could have happened. In fact, I am very good when there is no one around me. Usually I like to be left alone, to spend time with the family.
Your diet must have undergone changes …
After a long time, my mother cooked for me, I ate with her every day. I don’t know when I’ll have that kind of time again. Such opportunities are rare, invaluable.
Is your BMI the same? Did you gain weight, did you lose weight? After all, your mom was cooking for you …
I’m usually on the slimmer side, I don’t tend to gain weight easily. So the confinement allowed me to focus on a little muscle building. Anyway I have decent eating habits, stay away from junk food. When I was a teenager, I would eat whatever I wanted and used to get away with it. But since turning pro, I’ve been very cautious about what I consume.
It can be very difficult for people to stay away from cheat meals. Not?
Yes, and how can you be so strict with yourself! I don’t know how to cook, so Mom cooked everything and I had all the time to enjoy it. But after the first 15-20 days, I was back to my usual state. The main aspect of my training at home was increasing my muscle mass. I realized that once this (lockout etc) ended the schedule would get very hectic again because there is not much cricket and at some point they will try to cover this up.
You must have imagined little things about your game …
Once the partial lifting of the blockade happened, whatever access I had to open ground, I used it, except there would be no one else. So, it was like a little boy playing alone in a park. A month of bowling at a single wicket can teach you many things. You tend to think more about how you are running, the angles at which your arm descends, sticks to a line, etc. For example, imagining things that were not working for me, working on them, going back to a lot of basics. Bowling may seem boring, but he’s a great teacher. Bowling Yorkers without a batter in front. Basically, I enjoyed doing these things. Lockdown made me realize how much I enjoy playing this game.
Coaches and support staff must have been coordinating regularly …
I used to have regular interactions with my physical therapist, coach, some high-level cricketers, discuss multiple aspects of what was working and what was not, etc. One of the main talking points was how to prolong our career once cricket starts. That went very well. We received calls to discuss various things. Then once we started hitting the ground for outdoor training, every two weeks we would be sharing details of how things are going, how it’s been, etc.
Did you see a lot of your own cricket too?
I like it, but that’s part of the daily routine when you play. During the confinement, I didn’t do that. I just got caught up on all the Netflix and Amazon series I had ever wanted. It’s when you start training that watching videos helps.
When you say “work on the mental aspect” what do you really mean? Can you elaborate?
Specific sports meditation. Just to be in the present. Bringing in a bit of soft focus. Normally, when we are in full action, there is a lot of noise. So how to block out that noise, how to stay in the present, how to control the controllable and things like that. When you play at the highest level, different things happen. Sometimes frustration seeps in because something is not going to suit you. Sometimes you tend to fret about something. When such things happen, how do you control it, how do you make sure it doesn’t affect your game. This kind of thing I was reiterating to myself.
It must be reassuring to think that cricketers are coming back after blocking through T20 and not testing …
I don’t think anyone is focusing on the format at the moment. Everybody just wants to get back in the game. But yes, I agree. Going back to T20 format will be relatively easier than replaying Trials immediately. It would take a little more time to prepare for the tests. When preparing for a test, your body should be able to handle the workload of 18 to 20 overs a day. For that, you should also throw around 15 overs on the nets during training. If there is an increase in workload, the chances of injury also increase.
In 2018 you made your debut in Cape Town and since then you’ve been like a machine on a roll …
The cricket journey so far has been very good. I have been very grateful to him and I consider myself lucky. But yes, the part of me that relives those moments and processes them within my mind is an ongoing process. 2018 was full of new experiences. In South Africa, the understanding that it is necessary to re-throw the ball. In England, I had never noticed the Duke ball rocking so much, so long ago. He had never played in such conditions before. He had only played shorter formats in the UK and the cue ball not long ago. Then I hurt my thumb. All those cases helped me learn little by little.
And Australia was the highest …
Even in Australia the same thing happened. In certain situations, I thought I was playing well. In Perth, for example, I felt it was the fastest I had thrown. I felt like I was bowling at 155, 158. But in Perth, I didn’t get a lot of land. So what had 2018 taught me? Just keep doing the right things, sometimes things will fall into place, sometimes you will have to wait longer. The results will come. In fact, I remember saying this at the press conference after the Perth test that he was probably the best he had ever played in all bowls at the time, even if the wickets didn’t go as expected. Wickets arrived in the next test, at MCG. In retrospect, I pitched better in Perth, I did better in CGM. At the end of the day, your account will be posted.
You think it was in Perth, “you made your bones”?
I try to carry the Perth mentality everywhere. Keep doing what you do, the results will follow. When I start over, I’ll do the same things again. Hard work is never in vain.
MS Dhoni he has retired. Penalty fee. But what a way to go. An Instagram message and that’s it …
Well, it was her decision and everyone respects her. On a personal level, I debuted (Sydney, 2016) with him and he gave me a lot of confidence. Not many people know that Mahi bhai had never seen me bowling, on any level. In my debut game, he was going to pitch in the death overs and I asked him ‘can I play Yorkers?’ and he was like ‘no, don’t play yorkers’. He thought that since it was a difficult delivery, he couldn’t make it. I said ‘in Death Over, I don’t know what else to do’. So anyway I went ahead and did my thing and then he came up to me and said, “I didn’t know this at all. You should have come earlier, we would have won the whole series.” Here I was, making a nervous debut and the captain telling me “you could have beaten us this series.” It gave me a lot of freedom.
The Mumbai Indians are the defending champions …
When you play for a successful franchise, the expectations will always be there. We have a very good team. There’s Trent Boult with whom I’m looking forward to bowling. Mumbai Indians have always sought to raise the bar.
The Australian tour is next, after the IPL…
When we last went there it was a challenging tour and a very special feeling given the result. One very important reason that any cricketer always looks forward to touring Australia is that you know nothing will be easy.