Jasprit Bumrah, who became the quickest among Indian pacers to get to 100 wickets, is in many ways different from Kapil Dev whose record he bettered in the just-concluded fourth Test against England.
While the 27-year-old Bumrah claimed his 100th scalp in his 24th Test that ended with an Indian win on Monday, Kapil took his 100th wicket in his 25th Test in 1980 against Pakistan when he was 21.
Kapil, unlike Bumrah, had begun his Test career at a very early age of 19. The current India pace spearhead had made his debut in January 2018 when he had just crossed 24.
Former India speedster Manoj Prabhakar, who has played alongside Kapil Dev for the majority of his Test career, said that the current India speedster is very different and can’t be compared to Kapil.
“Bumrah is a different kind of bowler. He is a variety that we have not seen up till now. Someone bowling from such a short run-up and bowling at 140 kmph. It is totally different,” said Prabhakar to IANS.
“He has quite a few five-wicket hauls (6) by now. Over 100 wickets (101) in 24 Tests is something really good and different. It comes to over four wickets a Test. This is a very extraordinary performance,” said Prabhakar.
Kapil played Test cricket for 16 years and experts say that it was down to his perfect action that allowed longevity and didn’t put him under much stress.
He is said to have never missed a Test due to injury and according to former India opener and captain Sunil Gavaskar, he didn’t overstep even during the nets. Also, Kapil scored over 5,000 Test runs besides taking 434 wickets.
Bumrah, still in his early stages, has suffered injury, has been bowling no-balls in Tests and has only recently picked batting.
But he has still been putting in impactful performances for India to win games.
“Bumrah is doing great, will do well. But you can’t compare him with Kapil Dev. Kapil’s run-up was different. Bumrah’s run-up is very aggressive,” added Prabhakar.
The former pace bowling all-rounder, who represented India in 39 Tests, said that Kapil’s smooth action allowed him longevity.
“The question is how long can he (Bumrah) survive. Smoothness is necessary in any action to have a long run in cricket. Kapil’s run-up was smooth.
“For Bumrah to be effective, he has to bowl every delivery fast. Kapil didn’t have to bowl every ball fast. He could bring down pace and depend on line and length and swing [to trouble batsmen]. If Bumrah loses speed, he will lose effectiveness.”
Another former player who played with Kapil Dev, all-rounder Madan Lal, too said Bumrah and Kapil can’t be compared.
“I don’t like to compare Kapil Dev with anybody else. I am very happy that Bumrah is doing well. They can’t be compared,” said Lal.
He said that Bumrah’s action makes it very difficult for batsmen to pick the deliveries.
“His action is very difficult to pick. Because of his action, lot of batsmen struggle. He has a lot of quality. He has a bouncer, moves the ball around, he is a very intelligent bowler,” said the 70-year-old 1983 World Cup-winner who was also part of the Indian team that last won two Tests in a series in England, in 1986.
That was the series where Kapil, among others, played a heroic role.
“Bumrah has all the things going for him. It depends on his fitness. If he is fit, he is going to be very, very effective.”
The 58-year-old Prabhakar pointed out a quality that makes Bumrah rare from other bowlers doing reverse swing.
“Reverse swinging the ball with straight arm is a rare quality. That is why he has become rare. When you bowl with straight arm, it swings late. I could do both, reverse with straight arm and round arm. Wasim Akram was similar, could go either way, straight arm and round arm too,” said Prabhakar.