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Bumrah vs Rabada | Fast bowling analysis

India tour of South Africa is commencing with the Test match on 26th December 2021. South Africa tours do not hold many impressive results for the Indian team. Of the 20 matches played by India against host South Africa, India has only been able to win 3 matches and draw 7. This very well exhibits the domination of South Africa in their homeland.

While everyone is waiting for Virat Kohli’s 71st international century, this test series a major focus will be on the battle between the pacers of both teams. Here also we are going to talk about the two big guns both teams have, Jasprit Bumrah and Kagiso Rabada on what makes them dangerous by analyzing their bowling techniques.

South Africa has always been known for their lethal fast bowling attack and this time also, they have a decent fast bowling attack. After Anrich Nortje was ruled out of the Test series owing to his injury, lots of focus and responsibility now shifts to Kagiso Rabada, who according to Faf Du Plessis is a perfect captain’s bowler.

"He's just a guy that tries really hard. He's never got any dramas. Basically the perfect bowler for a captain, because exactly what I ask him to do, he does. If I say I want him to bowl a thousand short balls in a row, he'll do it. ” - Faf Du Plessis.

So, the question is, What makes Rabada bowl consistently at 140-150kph clicks at the right length?

Kagiso Rabada has a quick bowling action where he comes with a short but rhythmic run-up. In his short run-up, he increases his speed gradually till the crease by involving good arm movement that helps him generate great rhythm and momentum. His quick arm action then allows him to bowl with less stress on his back. The two of his strengths during this section are:

  • Load up is close to the body which helps in effective momentum transfer and thus makes the most of run-up

  • Superb arm delay due to which he has good hip to shoulder separation, which is a very essential thing for a fast bowler.

Rabada while landing has a cross base alignment which makes him prone to injuries and because of this, he has also suffered from the Groin injury that took quite a time to recover from. So, if he corrects his alignment, he might be able to bowl even faster.

If we look at the Indian side, they have Jasprit Bumrah. Now, both these bowlers have the capability to bowl above 140 kph consistently. We observed that a rhythmic run-up and a quick bowling action are the strength for Rabada, Bumrah's strength lies in his unorthodox bowling action because of a hyperextended elbow. Unlike Rabada, he’s a front-on bowler and does not involve arm movement in his runup. In fact, you might have observed that his non-bowling arm barely moves.

Bumrah’s major strength comes from his long jump followed by his braced front foot and his hyperextended elbow. Bumrah releases the ball a little ahead of his front foot landing position and thus, the ball creates a natural pathway for the inswingers to the right-handed batters. Few strengths of Bumrah lies in

  • the push he gives to the ball from his fingers along the seam that gives him an ability to swing the ball both ways

  • ability to produce a backspin in the bowl (Reverse Magnus effect) due to which the ball doesn’t bounce much even on bouncy surfaces & makes it difficult for the batter to predict.

  • ball release is quite ahead of crease giving him the capability to bowl 4-6 kph more than other bowlers

So, it's like a battle of Consistency vs Variations. Who will be able to create more chances, more troubles for the batter, more wickets? It will be very interesting to see both the fast bowlers trying to bag the match for their respective teams. The Live action starts on 26 December, 1:30 PM IST at Centurion.

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