‘What-If’ Both Jasprit Bumrah And Rishabh Pant Had Been Playing The World Test Championship Final 2023?

World Test Championship

The big day in Test cricket is over. There’s been a colossal victory for one unit and a heart sinking state of despair for the other. The big match result is already upon us. It’s been quite a few hours now. But the chatter and the boundless reflections, all of them continue unbound. 

The result of a contest can never really be reversed nor its fortunes changed, but then cricket is always that sport that tends to leave the fan with the big “What if..”

And while several hours have passed since the rotten result of India’s World Test Championship came about, the big thought that is perhaps yet to beget the fan is what may have happened if both Jasprit Bumrah and Rishab Pant were in the contest? 

It’s been nearly a year since two of India’s most promising and bright cricketers- one already an established star and the other- one in the making have been out injured. 

While surely Australia are the deserving winners of the winner-takes-all World Test Championship final and they must be lauded for every ounce of effort put, what also can’t be denied is that both Pant and Bumrah would have made things not so easy for Australia. 

Two cricketers renowned for making the opposition work and grind, Pant and Bumrah’s big absence has made the fortunes of India stutter in crucial situations. 

And we, the fans, were reminded of their mighty presence in two peculiar situations of the recently concluded Test championship final at The Oval. 

Especially in the first inning before Ajinkya Rahane put on the inning that has perhaps resulted in his cricketing rebirth for team India, you did feel as though having a firebrand batter like Pant would’ve done India a world of good. 

With much of the top order missing out on the big runs but simply letting the ball disturb the timber, the distraught fans were caught thinking that someone like a Rishabh Pant would’ve done anything but offer a no shot to a cricket ball. 

For someone so eternally wired in the “now”, in any contest for that matter, Pant would have come in as a handy pick over someone like Bharat; offering shot after shot to deliveries both good, bad and ugly. 

If anything, India missed the prospect of what would’ve been an excellent counter attacking knock with Pant getting the measure of the man India were most disturbed by: Scott Boland. 

With the quintessential ease in executing the ramp shots and the revere scoops, having been this utterly unafraid lad, india were extended an olive branch by the big ticket absence of a truly game changing bloke down the batting order. 

Maybe his mere presence would’ve kept a vulnerable middle order in good stead. 

Likewise, for all the vulnerabilities that someone like Umesh Yadav presented to an Australia in the first inning, just how handy would a Jasprit Bumrah been in those English conditions? 

Big bold or even brash statement? 

Well, there are some wholesome stats to back this one. 

Of his 128 Test scalps, 37, which happen to be the most in his active career, have come in English conditions. 

Moreover, 32 of his 128 wickets, which is precisely a fourth of his career dismissals, have come against the Aussies. 

Therefore, a fit – not that he was- Jasprit Bumrah in English conditions against the Aussies would’ve been one of the most picture perfect battles of any in the recent five dayer, the mother of all cricketing battles. 

That India were done in by these two massive absences was about as true as someone stating Steven Smith is a world class Test match batsman, or say, Virat Kohli amid a run chase is an unmissable prospect. 

But several promising careers languishing under injuries continue to threaten the present and future of a strongest cricketing powers that there are. 

And while it does little to reverse what’s already happened, it’s just a bit of a respite to imagine what may have happened had the ideal scenario prevailed, if only, in a “What if” scenario. 

Had Bumrah been around, would Head or Smith have had the ease of making those dollops of runs that they did to put early pressure on India in the first inning? 

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