As they bid for their first Ranji Trophy title ever, Gujarat will have to make do without the services of Jasprit Bumrah, their hero during the semifinal win over Jharkhand in Nagpur last week.
Bumrah, the 23-year-old paceman, took 6 for 29 in the second innings as Gujarat sent Jharkhand packing for just 123. Having taken a first-innings lead of 18 and set 235 for an outright victory, Jharkhand were shot out for just 111, Bumrah returning his career-best figures on his way to the man of the match award.
Bumrah has been picked in the Indian One-Day International team to take on England in the three-match series starting in Pune on January 15. Their Ranji final, against Mumbai, starts at Holkar Stadium here on January 10, with the scheduled last day being January 14 and the members of the ODI squad having been asked to assemble in Pune on the morning of January 11.
Having struggled to establish himself as a red-ball exponent, this has been one of Bumrah’s better first-class seasons. While he has taken only 24 wickets in seven games at 21.75, he has doubled his tally of five-fors, which now stands at six, and each of those five-wicket hauls brought him man of the match awards.
The right-arm quick with the unusual action had taken 6 for 71 when Gujarat met Mumbai in a Group A league encounter in Hubli in November last year, helping his team to three points on the basis of their 15-run first-innings lead in a tall-scoring draw.
“It is a setback, but national duty comes first,” Vijay Patel, the coach of the Gujarat team, told Wisden India on Sunday(January 8). “We wish him all the very best as he does duty for India, even though it goes without saying that we will miss him.”
It may be recalled that Parthiv Patel, the Gujarat captain, was withdrawn midway through the said game in Hubli as he was drafted into the Indian team for the third Test against England in Mohali following an injury to Wriddhiman Saha. Perhaps, the fact that their request for Parthiv to join the Indian team a day before the Mohali Test starting on November 26 being turned down played a part in Gujarat not approaching the Board of Control for Cricket in India asking if Bumrah could join the team after playing the final – which would have all but ruled him out of the first ODI if the title clash goes the distance.
In Bumrah’s absence, Mehul Patel, the right-arm paceman who has taken six wickets from three matches this season, is expected to line up alongside RP Singh and Rush Kalaria as Gujarat try to make their first entry into the title round in 66 years a memorable one.