Is too much rest a problem for Jasprit Bumrah? - Jaffer replies citing Zaheer Khan's example

Jasprit Bumrah is down with a recurring back injury prior to the T20 World Cup in Australia in October-November. 
 
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Amidst fears over Jasprit Bumrah's T20 World Cup participation, Wasim Jaffer responded whether the pacer gets too much rest between series?

Former India opening batter Wasim Jaffer believes too much rest provided to spearhead Jasprit Bumrah may have also played a part in the cricketer's recurring back injury ahead of the T20 World Cup. 

Bumrah's chances of making the tournament in Australia hang by the thinnest of ropes at this stage after reports emerged that he is down with a lower back stress fracture. 

The pacer went for fresh scans at the NCA in Bangalore on Wednesday (September 26) to ascertain the extent of the injury and how long the rehab would take, while he was ruled out of the ongoing T20I series against South Africa. 

Before this, Jasprit Bumrah skipped the Asia Cup 2022 with the back issue but underwent a quick rehab and played the final two T20Is against Australia, looking short of rhythm and precision for his two spells. 

Recognising him as the most vital cog in their wheels across formats, India have been managing the pacer's workload with care and attention. The selectors rested Bumrah from the T20Is versus South Africa and Ireland in June and then gave him a break from the limited-overs trips to West Indies and Zimbabwe in August. 

Either side of the IPL 2022 in April-May and the all-format series in England in July, Bumrah didn't play any cricket before the Aussies came visiting. But is that a harmful practice? Wasim Jaffer tried explaining with an example of his good friend. 

Jaffar cites Zaheer's example to explain Bumrah's case

Speaking as a guest on an ESPNcricinfo show, Wasim Jaffer said at times the key fast-bowler of the team is the best judge to assess whether he is ready to go or not. The Mumbai legend responded to a query whether it is okay for the team physios or the NCA coaches to agree to a pacer's request in such a scenario?

"Sometimes yeah," Jaffer responded. "The physios especially they listen to what the players say because the players are keen to play, as they don't want to break that rhythm. I know from the previous fast-bowlers' generation, they were happy when they were playing consistently."

Jaffer indicated he feels Bumrah would've felt fine with his body ahead of the Australian series after "bowling a lot of overs to check his back" at the NCA. Along the lines, he answered a pertinent question about rest and workload management, in that how much is too much for a fast-bowler?

"I have spoken to Zaheer. When he played for Worcestershire, he literall played four months of non-stop cricket," Jaffer said, agreeing that too much rest is not healthy for a fast-bowler. "He played county cricket. That's how Zaheer Khan's resurgence happened post that 2006 season."

"He told me time and again that if he played consistent cricket, if he keeps bowling that many overs, his body feels in rhythm. The moment there is a break, he felt it takes him a while to get back into shape. So I am pretty convinced most of the bowlers also want it that way," he added. 

Also Read - Mohammed Siraj replaces Jasprit Bumrah in India's T20I squad

Either way, Bumrah's injury at the heels of the T20 World Cup has once again brought the NCA coaches and physios under heavy scrutiny. The pacer was green-signalled to play the Australian series when he clearly looked undercooked, which may have been a rhythm issue after a two-month break. But questions are being asked whether Bumrah was cleared to play without completing his rehabilitation process. 

Previously, too, NCA has faced such question marks after Bhuvneshwar Kumar's infamous back injury ahead of the tour of England tour in 2018. Not only did the pacer miss the trip he was ideally suited for, but also hasn't played a Test match for the country since and has seen a sharp decline in his ability to execute the yorker consistently.