‘Perplexed’, ‘beyond understanding’: Steve Smith, Tom Moody question Hardik Pandya’s use of Jasprit Bumrah

Image Source : AP Jasprit Bumrah’s utilisation by Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya has been notified by a few experts

Mumbai Indians skipper Hardik Pandya has been on the receiving end of criticism for his bowling changes and captaincy in the first two games of the 2024 edition of the IPL. Hardik’s usage of strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah has been a concern given the latter has bowled much of his overs in the second half in both games while bowling just one in the powerplay in each of the games. On Wednesday, March 27 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), it was pretty apparent after Sunrisers Hyderabad had scored 148 runs in the first 10 overs and Bumrah had bowled just one over.

From Steve Smith to former SRH coach Tom Moody, the experts too noted that it was a mistake from Hardik as even though he kept Bumrah for Heinrich Klaasen, he could have used him for at least one over when the likes of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma were going hammer and tongs.

Speaking on Star Sports, Smith said, “I think they missed a trick in bringing Bumrah back in the 13th over. When the ball’s going around like that, you’ve just got to bring your best bowler back earlier than you would’ve liked. It’s just about adapting on the go. I would’ve bowled Bumrah out by the 15-16th over to try to get some wickets. Hardik chose to go with 17-year-old Kwena Maphaka for a couple of overs and bowled himself for two as well but bowled Bumrah for just one, which was perplexing for Smith.

“Once you get some wickets, you slow the run-rate down anyway. If these guys are batting at the end, it doesn’t matter who is bowling. We saw that in the last two overs where he still got smacked. So if he came back earlier and took some risks, things could have been really different. They got 277, they could’ve been down to 250 and they might’ve chased those down. I was just perplexed that Bumrah had bowled just 1 over up until the 13th over,” Smith added.

Moody and Irfan Pathan echoed the same sentiment of SRH running away with the game striking at 14 runs per over and Bumrah bowling just one over in the first 10 was ‘beyond understanding’.

Bumrah eventually bowled the 13th, 15th and 19th overs and was the only bowler on the day, whose economy was under 10. SRH smashed highest score of IPL history – 277 – and MI made a good fight of it as they fell 31 runs short.

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