(Reuters) – Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah made a winning return to international cricket after 11 months on the sidelines in a major boost to India’s campaign at the home World Cup in October-November.
The 29-year-old missed the T20 World Cup last year and the World Test Championship final in June with a back injury that eventually required surgery.
Put in charge of a second-string India team in the T20 series in Ireland, Bumrah claimed 2-24 in his comeback match to help his team clinch Friday’s rain-hit opener via Duckworth-Lewis system.
“So many sessions I did at the NCA (National Cricket Academy), and played a lot of practice games, that it didn’t feel like I missed out on a lot, or was doing something new,” Bumrah said afterwards.
“The weather was a little helpful as well. Luckily we won the toss and there was some help in the beginning.”
Having elected to field, Bumrah began with a loosener, which Andy Balbirnie hit for a four but the bowler exacted revenge with the very next ball which the batter dragged on to his stumps.
His fifth delivery also fetched him a wicket as Lorcan Tucker attempted a scoop shot but the ball ballooned up for wicketkeeper Sanju Samson to take the catch.
Being tasked with captaincy helped him overcome any nerves, said Bumrah, who was named player-of-the-match.
“Because when you are captaining, you are not thinking about yourself, you are thinking about others,” he said.
“Probably that sometimes works in your favour that you are looking after everyone and your performance takes care of itself.”
The visitors can clinch the three-match series with a second successive victory in Dublin on Sunday.
India will face a sterner test in Asia Cup where they begin their campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Pallekele on Sept. 2.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Kim Coghill)