India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, currently sidelined with an injury, distinctly remembers when he first realised how much he liked cricket: it was when India lost to New Zealand at the 1999 World Cup in England.
“My first cricket memory is of watching India’s 1999 World Cup game against New Zealand. I remember I was watching the game at home with my sister and I cried a lot when we lost. I will never forget that moment because that was when I realized how passionate I was about this game,” said the bowler who turns 31 on Friday.
Bhuvneshwar’s passion for cricket was evident when he played gully cricket, though he did not quite realise his real potential for pace bowling. He highlighted the importance of a good mentor by recalling the incident that set him down the correct path.
“In gully cricket, everybody thinks of himself as an all-rounder. When I went to the academy for the first time with my sister, and the coach asked me what I did, I said everything. He saw something in me that made him hand me the ball, and since then I have never looked back,” he said.
Bhuvneshwar injured his thigh during the IPL in the UAE a few months ago, and is currently recuperating.
Even as he has been sidelined, the Uttar Pradesh pacer has turned to imparting lessons through online coaching. He has teamed up with FrontRow, an online platform providing comprehensive skill-based courses, to create and deliver an online course on fast-bowling, aimed at budding cricketers of all ages and skill level.
“I have put this course together keeping everybody in mind, whether you are just a fan who wants to begin playing or you already play but want to refine your game and get insights into the mind of a professional cricketer. However, I strongly advise all budding cricketers to keep practicing. Coaches can share their teachings with you, but there is no short cut to the hard work you must put in,” he said.