Swing bowler Bhuvaneshwar Kumar has been consistently performing well in the shortest white ball format of the game in the run up to the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup here in Australia.
He bowled well against Pakistan in two spells and finished with one for 21 in four overs, grabbing the wicket of the free swinging Shaheen Shah Afridi in his last spell of 1-0-8-1 in India’s opening game that was clinched by his team on the last ball at the jam-packed Melbourne Cricket Ground.
On Thursday against Netherlands at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Bhuvaneshwar started off with two maiden overs, with a wicket too in his grab, and then finished with splendid figures of 3-2-9-2, not the type of analysis that is common in T20 cricket.
Bhuvneshwar attributed the nine-day training that the Indian team led by Rohit Sharma underwent in Perth ahead of the event as one of the contributory factors for the team’s splendid display thus far.
India had defeated Pakistan by four wickets in a dramatic finish in Pakistan to clinch their Super 12 league Group 2 opener on Sunday and followed it up here with a comprehensive 56-run victory to shoot to the top of the six-team table with four points from two matches.
“The crucial period was the preparations that we had in Perth. And then winning that first match against Pakistan was crucial,” said Bhuvneshwar after the match against Netherlands.
The Uttar Pradesh bowler said that although the team had expected some swing on offer at the MCG in the game against Pakistan, their expectations were exceeded by the amount of swing that the faster bowlers got.
“The ball swung considerably more than we expected. The others too were swinging the ball,” he informed.
For the record both the teams had a jittery start at the MCG. While Pakistan recovered from 15 for 2 to make 159 for 8, India rallied from an even more difficult 31 for four to chase down the target by riding on Virat Kohli’s stupendous 82 not out off 53 balls and his partnership of 113 runs for the fifth wicket with Hardik Pandya who made 40.
Asked about rookie left arm pacer Arshdeep Singh’s display so far, Bhuvaneshwar hailed it.
“He has bowled amazingly well. He is always trying to ask us on how to bowl to the opposing batsmen. He’s doing really well in his first World Cup.”
Bhuvaneshwar felt that the fact that the team had trained in Perth for nine days would stand it in good stead in its next game in the same Western Australian city on Sunday.
“Because of our preparations, we know the conditions there. We will talk about strategy once we reach there.”
He also welcomed the newly introduced rule for penalising the fielding team for not maintaining the required over-rate.
“The over-rate has improved and I think it is a good rule to finish the overs within the time limit,” he said.