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How Bhuvi plans to bamboozle Australia

By Harish Kotian
October 26, 2018 09:56 IST
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'We have five to six bowlers and everyone is different from each other.'
'Someone has got pace, someone has got swing, someone has got seam... we complement each other well.'

Bhuvneshwar Kumar

IMAGE: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who missed the Test series in England with a back injury, is raring to bowl in Australia. Photograph: BCCI

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is relieved now that he is back on his feet.

Forced out of the five Test series in England with a back injury, Bhuvi is slowly getting back to his best. He made an impressive comeback to top level cricket in the Asia Cup, where he took 5 wickets in 6 games.

But Australia -- where India will play four Tests December 6 onwards -- is where Bhuvi wants to make an impression with the ball and make up for his lacklustre showing on the last Aussie tour.

"Australia is different from other parts of the world. It won't be easy for the bowlers because the wickets are so flat that you hardly get anything from the wicket. It won't be easy for any of us, but we have to accept the challenge and do well for the team in whatever way we can do," Bhuvi tells's Harish Kotian on the sidelines of a promotional event for ASICS in Mumbai.


Video: Hitesh Harisinghani/

The 28-year-old pacer does not have pleasant memories of his only Test played Down Under. He took just one wicket in the two innings of the Sydney Test in 2015, conceding 168 runs in 42 overs.

Bhuvi is a completely transformed bowler since that trip three years ago. An extra bit of pace coupled with his ability to swing the ball has made him a force to reckon with, especially in helpful conditions.

He bagged 10 wickets in the two Tests in South Africa earlier this year and looked a real threat every time he came on to bowl.

Sadly, the back injury felled him before he could show off his prowess in England where someone with his ability to move the ball would have been a handful for the English batsmen.

"I didn't make any changes technically," says Bhuvi, "but, of course, I trained hard, whether it was in the gym or on the ground and that really helped to increase my pace."

IMAGE: Bhuvneshwar made an impressive comeback in the Asia Cup, picking 5 wickets in 6 games. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

"But pace is not the only thing which you need to worry about, you need to polish your skills and other things to improve as a fast bowler," he adds.

Given the clarity in his thinking, it is not a surprise that Bhuvneshwar -- who has played 21 Tests and taken 63 wickets -- is not fretting over how things have transpired in recent months when he has spent more time in the medical room than out in the middle.

"It is always disappointing when you miss a match. I don't want to regret that. I made a comeback and played in the Asia Cup, I made a comeback to playing cricket and that is the most important thing for me rather than to sit and regret what I missed," says Bhuvi who plays for Uttar Pradesh in domestic cricket and for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL.

India wants Bhuvi fit for the Australian tour and rested him for the two Test series against the West Indies and for the first two ODIs. Slowly, the fast bowler has built up his fitness in the last couple of months and says he feels very confident at the moment.

"For now the body is good," he says, "and I am feeling happy about that."

Bhuvi regularly features across all three formats for India. Switching formats in today's packed international calendar, he concedes, is difficult, but if a player is able to properly utilise his practice sessions then it helps.

"It is a bit difficult because when the format changes, you have to change a few things, like line and length. So when there is a practice session you make sure that you do whatever you do in the match for that format."

The Indian pace attack stunned the English cricket writers and crowds when they left England's pacers trailing in sheer pace and and their aggressive bowling during the Test series, leading Sachin Tendulkar to declare that it is the 'complete fast bowling attack in many years'.

IMAGE: Bhuvneshwar Kumar has formed a potent new ball partnership with Jasprit Bumrah. Photograph: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

Bhuvi points out that it is the variety in the Indian pace bowling attack that makes it so potent.

"I don't know if it is the best ever or not. The good thing is that we have five to six bowlers and everyone is different from each other. Someone has got pace, someone has got swing, someone has got seam... we complement each other well," he says.

"If you look at the last two or three series, whether it is South Africa or England and now it will be Australia, we have taken 20 wickets in almost every Test match. So that is the plus point for us if you compare to 3 or 4 years back," Bhuvi points out.

"So, being different from each other as fast bowlers has helped each other and also the team," he adds.

Bhuvi and Jasprit have formed a ruthless partnership in ODIs, having taken 83 wickets in the 30 games they have played together. India has lost just 6 matches out of the 30 when the two young pacers have both featured in the playing XI.

Bhuvi credits their success to their chemistry on the field and their reading of the game.

"We understand each other very well. We have been playing for a couple of years so we know what each other's strength is. What is more important is that we keep talking to each other. We keep discussing about the current situation and what the situation could be in the next few overs," Bhuvi reveals.

"We also talk about fielding positions, we keep discussing these things during the game and it really helps each other."

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Harish Kotian /