12 months ago, it was a given that Bhuvneshwar Kumar would be leading India’s charge with the ball in England in their quest to regain the World Cup. But 12 months is a lot of time and so much can happen in sport in that period. Bhuvneshwar has certainly found that out the hard way. Four years ago in Australia and New Zealand, he had to warm the benches and ended up playing just one game for India. As things stand, in two months time, a similar fate awaits India’s swing king despite being their premier seamer for the major part of this four-year period.
A back injury that was hampering him during last year’s IPL had gotten worse in the subsequent England tour. He was supposed to be India’s kingpin in the overseas Tests with his ability to swing the ball in those conditions almost throughout the day. But India’s silly decision to field him in a meaningless T20I series ahead of the all important marquee five-match Test series cost them dearly as Bhuvneshwar aggravated the injury and returned home to recover. The result? He played zero Tests out of a possible nine in England and Australia.
The focus right now though is on white ball cricket where Bhuvneshwar has found the going tough with the brand new white ball, searching for wickets up front and more importantly, the deadly yorkers at the death overs are fast disappearing. While the brand new cherry is hardly swinging in England these days in limited overs cricket, Bhuvneshwar’s value comes at the death where he has been misfiring. He was ripped to shreds quite astonishingly by Rishabh Pant last year in an IPL encounter and that assault has definitely left a mark.There is a stark difference in the numbers in the IPL where he has been usually effective for Sunrisers Hyderabad. The wickets have dried up and the economy rate has swollen.