Cricket might have started with only a single format but now it has got divided into three specific branches in the last fifty years. It has led to the requirement of diverse and different qualities for each format and there has been an increasing rise of specialists for each. While players are generally classified as white ball and red-ball specialists respectively, there are some players too, who are specifically suited to T20s—the shortest version of the game—and not the other two.

However, the world is still blessed to have a handful of players who are equally potent to play all three formats and are highly successful in all of them as well. It is easier for batsmen to adapt across formats than for bowlers. In recent times, bowlers like Adil Rashid and David Willey have expressed their willingness to concentrate only on white ball cricket. But Indian pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who specifically rose through the ranks as a white ball specialist, has shown that he is equally capable of delivering in the longest format of the game.

He had an experience of just 26 first class matches before he was called up for India’s tour of South Africa back in January this year. Many pundits had expressed their doubts about his credibility as a Test bowler and some had even criticized the decision a lot. However, Bumrah proved himself to be a vital cog in India’s pace bowling unit which showed its class in the rainbow nation.

In three matches, he claimed 14 wickets at an average of 25.21 and economy of 3.14, statistics which included a best bowling figures of 5/54 in an inning as well. Despite his success, doubts were still expressed. People were still pondering how effective he would turn out to be with the new ball in English conditions.

“I am not sure he is going to be a good new ball bowler. He struggles to take the ball away from right-handers when bowling with the new ball. So, he wouldn’t be my first choice (on overseas tours),” Michael Holding had told PTI back in January.

“My first choice is always Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Then I would think about Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami. When India play in England, pitches will be drastically different to South Africa. I wouldn’t play Bumrah because he bangs the ball in. Those pitches need someone to bowl so that the ball kisses the surface and gets it to move around,” he had added.

Six months down the line, after being out of the first two Tests against England due to a thumb injury, he has proved his mettle with a match winning performance at Trent Bridge in the third Test, in conditions which were supposed to be unsuitable for his kind of bowling. He has delivered a match winning performance right in his comeback match with figures of 7/122 in the match which includes a five-wicket haul in the second innings as well.

His inclusion has provided a much needed venom in India’s pace attack which was lacking in his absence. In the last session of play on the fourth day at Trent Bridge, he ran through the English middle and lower order after Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes’ marathon partnership of 169 runs lasting 57.2 overs. First he trapped a well settled Buttler plumb in front of the stumps with a delivery that jagged back in after pitching on off-stump. Jonny Bairstow followed right in the next ball as Bumrah castled him up. He was on a hat-trick but Chris Woakes negotiated with the hattrick ball successfully.

However, Woakes didn’t last long as Bumrah got him to edge one off a very well bowled bouncer an over later. He even got Adil Rashid caught in the slips soon but he had bowled a no-ball , so the decision didn’t count. Still, it didn’t affect his spirits and confidence. Stuart Broad and Rashid stitched a quick-fire partnership of 50 runs for the 9th wicket but Bumrah ended it once again as Broad edged it to KL Rahul’s safe pair of hands. Thus, Bumrah completed his second five wicket haul of his career and his first in England as well, that too in his very first match in the country.

Although Hardik Pandya was the star with the ball in the first innings, Bumrah bowled some crucial spells too with bowling figures of 2/37 which included the crucial wickets of Keaton Jennings and Jos Buttler.

With these performances, he has proved that his skills, temperament and abilities are not only limited and effective in limited overs cricket, it extends beyond it too. Bumrah has shut down all his critics with such a performance in his maiden Test in England and thus has proved how important he is going to be in India’s overseas campaigns in the road ahead. We are probably seeing the rise of an all-format genius in an era of specialists.