New Delhi, December 30: Jasprit Bumrah's form and fitness will be one of India's primary concern during the World Cup in England and the Gujarat pacer may get some well deserved rest for a few games during the twin ODI series against Australia and New Zealand.
Bumrah, who played a stellar role with match haul of nine for 86 in India's 137-run win against Australia at the MCG, has played nine away Test matches this year with 48 wickets in this current calendar year. Bumrah has bowled 379.4 overs in nine Tests while Mohammed Shami has bowled a few overs more (383.5 overs) but he has played 12 Test matches.
Ishant Sharma during this phase has bowled 335 overs while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has bowled the maximum overs (386 overs). Among these bowlers, both Ashwin and Ishant do not figure as far as India's World Cup preparation is concerned as the core team of 20 is already set.
The core 20 comprises the 16 selected for Australia and New Zealand ODIs along with Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey and Umesh Yadav, who are still very much in the mix. It is understood that Indian team management as well as national selectors are on same page with regards to the workload management of the pacers.
Bumrah is expected to play a major role in India's final Test match of the season in Sydney and everyone associated with the national team are aware that he is also an integral part of Mumbai Indians set-up for the Indian Premier League.
In best case scenario, Bumrah is expected to bowl at least 30 overs (minimum) across two innings at Sydney which will take his tally to over 400 overs. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar fresh and raring to go and young Khaleel Ahmed also joining the ranks during the ODI phase, there is a school of thought that Bumrah could be sparingly used during the next 13 ODIs (3 away and 5 home vs Australia, 5 away vs New Zealand).
Bhuvneshwar, Khaleel along with Hardik Pandya and the two wrist spinners could provide Bumrah some relief time to time during upcoming ODIs as he will be as important as skipper Virat Kohli in the larger scheme of things.
However, the tricky part for the BCCI mandarins will be discussing Bumrah's workload management with the Mumbai Indians team management. Earlier in October, there were discussions during a meeting between CoA, team management and selectors whether bowlers in the fray for the World Cup could be rested during the IPL but it didn't see the light of the day as franchises were wary.
This year's best performing stock - SBI, Shami, Bumrah and Ishant, who have given a bumper 136 wicket dividend to Indian cricket. Looking forward to many more such years! h/t Titash and Gourav Chakraborty. pic.twitter.com/j1mpY5C6Pj— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) December 30, 2018
However, there is expected to be some effort put in by the BCCI to convince Bumrah's franchise to co-operate looking at the bigger picture. "For someone of Virat's stature, he can take a call himself and discuss with his franchise about his workload. However, for Bumrah, the Indian team's support staff will need to prepare all the relevant data so that we can have discussion with MI if the situation arises," a senior BCCI official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
"Obviously, if he is fit, he will play all important matches for MI but in between, with such a hectic travel schedule during IPL, it will be great if he is rested keeping the World Cup in mind," he added.