Playing Test cricket for India is the biggest motivation for me: Bumrah

Chennai: Pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who made his home debut in the longest format of the game on Friday, said he doesn’t require any extra push as playing Test cricket for India is the biggest motivation for him.

Bumrah, who picked two wickets on day one of the first Test against England, played his first game in the longest format on home soil today after featuring in 17 Tests for India.

The first Test is being played behind closed doors but the second Test slated to begin from February 13 will have 50 per cent crowd in attendance. However, for Bumrah it doesn’t really matter if he is playing in front of the crowds or behind closed doors.

“I think we were okay (morale) till the second session. At the beginning of the last session, we felt a bit flat. Especially when the wickets aren’t favouring you, we were a bit dull. For me, I don’t need extra noise or something to push myself. It depends on individual to individual,” Bumrah told the media during the virtual press conference at the end of the first-day action at MA Chidambaram Stadium.

“I actually keep telling myself if I don’t bowl well, how can I pick wickets. There isn’t a bigger motivation than playing for India, this is the best format and my favourite too. I accept all kinds of results having done my best. I keep getting better and taking advice from others in order to improve myself,” he added.

Shahbaz Nadeem and Rahul Chahar were added to the squad after all-rounder Axar Patel was ruled out of the first Test on Friday. Nadeem was subsequently picked in the playing XI ahead of Kuldeep Yadav and many fans and cricket pundits were fumed at this decision.

“In hindsight, we can talk well about it (the decision to play Shahbaz over Kuldeep) but this is the team we went with, we will continue to back them. Right now, there is a job to be done and later on, after the game, we can discuss the selection,” said Bumrah.

Meanwhile, Joe Root and Dom Sibley put England in control in the first Test, forming a stunning 200-run partnership on the opening day. At stumps, England’s score read 263/3 with Root playing on 128 runs. However, India ended the day on a high as Bumrah dismissed Sibley (87) in the 90th over.

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