The star of Jasprit Bumrah has been in the ascendant for the last couple of years in an uninterrupted manner. The bowler has gone from being, arguably, the most skilful limited-overs seamer to becoming the leading performer in Tests for India. His efforts in South Africa, England, Australia and now, West Indies have already led to praises being heaped upon him from people such as Sir Andy Roberts.
With such accolades behind him, it is no wonder that even the stats reflect the magnificence of Bumrah. The right-arm pacer has 62 wickets from 12 Tests at an average of 19.2 and strike rate of 43.7. What's more, he already has 5 five-wicket hauls to his name in the longest format.
These numbers are stunning, to say the least. But they become astonishing when one compares his record, at this stage of his career, to that of some of the biggest names in the game. Starting with India, the most successful bowler to represent the country, Anil Kumble, had 61 wickets after his first 12 Tests.
This makes him second on the list of the most prolific wicket-takers in the national team's history at this juncture of their careers. Ravichandran Ashwin is just ahead of Bumrah with 63 wickets in his first 12 outings.
But it's not just an Indian great that Bumrah has left behind. Even some of the greatest names in the history of the game were not as successful as the Indian pacer when it comes to their records after their first dozen matches.
Dennis Lillee, legendary Australian pacer, had 55 wickets after first 12 Tests of his career while the West Indian icon Michael Holding had picked up 43. The man regarded as the greatest bowler of this century – Dale Steyn – also was well behind Bumrah with 49 wickets.
Even in terms of average and strike rate, the Indian sensation is ahead of former greats. Lillee had an average of 24.18 and strike rate of 58.8 after his first dozen Tests. Holding's average and strike rate was even higher at 27.88 and 60.1 respectively. Steyn managed an average of 29.20 while his strike rate comes close to Bumrah's at 45.1.
So, Bumrah's career has indeed been off to a magnificent start. But sustaining these numbers won't be easy as he would have to play majority of his cricket on Indian pitches which are not going to provide equal amounts of help.
Also, it must be remembered that some of the batting line-ups that Bumrah has bowled to have been relatively easy. The likes of Lillee and Holding and even Steyn had to face much tougher opposition. So, straight comparisons don't always work. However, it can't be denied by any that, going by all the signs he has shown in his career so far, Bumrah too is destined for greatness.