Every team has a quiet operator – a person whose absence is felt more than the presence. Bhuvneshwar Kumar seems to be that sort of a character in India’s cricket team.
Bhuvneshwar struggled with a spate of injuries for a better part of the last four years. The right-arm pacer was only part of “how he is being sorely missed” discussions. He was on the verge of falling off the radar with younger crop of pacers shining in international cricket.
Having regained his fitness and presented with an opportunity during the limited overs’ leg against England, Bhuvneshwar knew that with Jasprit Bumrah missing, it was his litmus test to lead the pack.
The 31-year-old ticked all the boxes over the last three weeks. He was naturally rusty in the first couple of T20Is but once he got into his rhythm in Ahmedabad, he took it to the next level in the ODIs in Pune.
Bhuvneshwar’s performance of six wickets at 22.50 at an astounding economy rate of 4.65 was worthy of being adjudged Player of the Series. While it didn’t happen, the bowler was satisfied with his outing.
Bhuvneshwar appeared to be hungry for success, not just doing well in the Indian Premier League but keeping an eye on India’s Test series in England later this year.
“I am just happy that I went through the entire series pretty well,” he said after the third ODI on Sunday night.
“Whatever preparation happens from my side will happen with red-ball cricket in mind. That’s different from what will happen in team selections, but my training and workload during the IPL will happen with Test cricket in mind. I want to play Test cricket going forward.”
But Bhuvneshwar isn’t thinking too far ahead, instead setting short-term goals for himself. “I don’t decide on the long term future. Whenever I have in the past, things haven’t gone my way, whether it’s due to injury or form,” he said.
“Workload management is something I will focus on and the team management also tries and does its best. I was unfit for a long time, so I realised that fitness is something I have to maintain if I want to play regular cricket.”