Chennai, Aug 7 (PTI) Legendary Australian pacer Glenn McGrath on Monday said the long injury layoff could be a blessing in disguise for India's pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, allowing him to return fresh to international cricket ahead of the ICC World Cup 2023. Bumrah took nearly a year to recover from a lower back stress fracture, and his last appearance for India was in September 2022 in a T20I against Australia in Hyderabad.
But now, the 29-year-old is set to lead India in a three-match T20I series against Ireland later this month.
"It depends on how the injury is and the sort of expectations he has. I think he will be fine since he is a quality bowler," McGrath said in a media interaction during his visit to the MRF Pace Foundation academy here.
"The layoff will help him, I think. Fast bowlers need that layoff and time to get the strength back in their bodies. It depends on the work he has done off the field, how his back is and if he has done anything to his action. I think he has been there before and he has achieved it," said McGrath.
The New South Welshman, who has 949 international wickets, said he will be watching Bumrah closely once he returns to top-level cricket.
"I haven't seen him bowl. So, time will tell. Only he knows where he is now. So, I will be watching him keenly to see him get back to where he was."
"The effort and energy he puts in takes a toll on the body. If he has put enough work on the field, I can't see a reason why he cannot go back to being where he previously was," he added.
McGrath said Bumrah should be able to maintain the same intensity and pace upon his return, considering his experience and quality.
"He's got enough experience. He has enough games before the World Cup to test himself. Eleven months is a long time out of the game, but if you are coming off an off-season and you want to get into it, hopefully, that only takes a few games," he noted.
India's death bowling has been quite shaky of late in the limited-overs, but McGrath asserted that every team faces a similar challenge.
"Not just India, it's a concern for every team. It's where you win or lose matches. I don't know the stats behind India's death bowling, but it's an important part of the game. You need quality death bowlers who can bowl good yorkers, slower balls, and good bouncers, but also bowl the right thing at the right time." "Back when I played, we had an off-season. A break of two or 11 months doesn't make much of a difference. It's just about getting back into the swing," he said.
However, McGrath said India have a wonderful pace unit led by Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammad Siraj.
"They have done a great job for a long time. Shami knows his game. He's got a decent pace and can move the ball both ways. As for Bumrah, obviously, he has got a great record. Siraj has done a great job since he's come in. I definitely rate them as a quality (pace) bowling attack in the world."