'Bhuvneshwar put a lot of pressure on the opposition'
His eight overs on the trot set the stage for India to rip through Pakistan in their final Champions Trophy group match but rising pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar feels it is still a long way to go before he can think of himself as the team's bowling spearhead.
Against Pakistan, Kumar picked up his maiden Man of the Match trophy after picking up the crucial wickets of Nasir Jamshed and Mohammed Hafeez in eight back-to-back overs.
"In English conditions, the new ball is expected to swing and I feel the captain wants to get the best out of me. I have been doing this quite regularly in India too," Kumar told reporters after India's emphatic eight-wicket win against Pakistan at Edgbaston.
Asked whether he is ready to spearhead India's pace attack, the youngster replied, "I am still learning and speaking to the seniors. It's too early to look into the future and say I am going to spearhead India's bowling attack. I will like to take one match at a time."
Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar
'We had a lot of belief in our batting'
Kumar said there were no special plans against Pakistan. "As a new ball bowler, it's my job to stick to the basics. But it's true that the ball is not swinging as much as I thought it would in English conditions. The bounce has been good, though," the 23-year-old from Meerut said.
Kumar (2/19) produced his best bowling performance against Pakistan in ODIs, bettering the two for 27 at Chennai on December 30, 2012. This was also his best in Champions Trophy. The pacer said he was never in awe of the Pakistan batsmen.
"Swing is my main weapon. All bowlers depend on movement and I am no exception. Whether it's Pakistan or any other team, the approach is the same.
"We went in today quite confident of our abilities. We won two matches as a team and we had a lot of belief in our batting, bowling and fielding," Kumar stated.
Image: Shikhar Dhawan
Photographs: Philip Brown/Reuters
'Dhoni is cool and calculated'
Kumar, like most youngsters in this Indian team, thanked captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni for keeping the pressures off the squad here in UK.
"He (Dhoni) is cool and calculated. He wants us to forget the past and live in the present. This really helps prepare for a match," Bhuvneshwar concluded.
Dhoni was also effusive in his praise of the youngster. "He is not someone who is very quick but he bowls in very good areas. In these conditions, he used the new ball well as he can swing the ball both ways.
"Bhuvneshwar put a lot of pressure on the opposition. He has only played a few ODIs but he will only improve," Dhoni said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
India's middle-order hasn't been tested in the three matches so far but Dhoni said that it is not of great concern.
"We have a settled middle-order consisting of myself, Raina (Suresh) and Jadeja (Ravindra). We have played a lot of matches and only thing is that we need Raina to get some more practice at the nets. Also the middle-order got a fair hit during the two warm-up games."
Image: MS Dhoni and R Ashwin
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
'At this point we are a top fielding side'
While death bowling can still be "improved", Dhoni feels that fielding has been top-notch in this competition.
"It's good that we are doing well in all three departments. The individuals have taken responsibility. At this point we are a top fielding side in world cricket.
"I had the cushion of wearing gloves while catching but others were doing it with bare hands in cold and windy conditions."
The skipper got hit in the shin but said that he will be okay in the next three days. Bhuvneshwar said that he followed the instructions of his coach and captain.
"I just followed whatever the coach and captain told me. Since the ball wasn't swinging much during practice games, I tried to keep things as simple as possible and my hard work has paid off."
Rival skipper Misbah-ul Haq admitted that batting failure was one of the reason for this dismal show.
"We were disappointing with the bat but the frequent stoppages also didn't help our cause. I don't know what happened as guys were in good form during the tour of Ireland but here we were under pressure from the first match and couldn't come out of that," said Misbah.
Image: India's Umesh Yadav (R) runs out Pakistan's Mohammad Irfan during their ICC Champions Trophy group B match at Edgbaston
Photographs: Darren Staples/Reuters