Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who picked up three wickets at the cost of just nine runs in the Kolkata ODI, has revealed that he knew about David Warner’s struggles against outswingers in the IPL and that helped him plot his dismissal. The pacer has also credited trainer Shankar Basu for increasing his pace.
After restricting India to a modest 252, Australia lost their way with skipper Steve Smith waging a lone battle that was never going to be enough to win them the match. In the beginning of India’s run defence, Kumar bowled a clinical spell and executed his plans superbly to rattle the visiting side. Hilton Cartwright had no clue about how to play those deliveries, with the ball narrowly missing his edge regularly before taking his off-stump in the third over. Bhuvneshwar returned to deceive his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammate David Warner next, making him edge one to Ajinkya Rahane at second slip that reduced the visitors to 9/2 in 4.5 overs.
“As soon as I bowled the first ball, I knew there was some swing available in the wicket. The way I bowled early on was especially for Warner because I knew outswingers can work against him – pitching it on the off-stump and getting the ball to swing away from the left-hander,” Bhuvneshwar was quoted as saying by PTI.
“I had an idea where he lacks and where I should bowl to him. But execution on the ground is more important than anything. IPL is such a tournament that you end up knowing about the strengths and weaknesses of everyone because you are playing with so many people
For a second consecutive time, Indian skipper Virat Kohli opted to bat on a surface that initially looked full of runs but the Indian side failed to capitalize on that as barring Kohli and Rahane, no other batsmen could really contribute to the cause. As a result, India were shut out for 252 - a score that is not even par by the metrics of modern-day cricket. Bhuvneshwar admitted to the fact but said that mood in the dressing room was still high.
“In modern-day cricket, 250-odd is obviously not a big total. But still, there was no bad mood in the dressing room at the halfway mark. No one was really upset with the performance. We believe in each other, and that makes a big difference. We keep talking about taking wickets at regular intervals. If you get those regular wickets in the middle overs, it always helps, irrespective of the runs on board.”
There is a change in approach in the UP pacer’s bowling of late as he has been consistently bowling well on the flat pitches and he is past the times when he needed only swinging conditions to do well in a match. Despite not having pace as the primary weapon in his arsenal, he manages to deceive the batsmen with an intelligence that was one of the characteristics of Zaheer Khan, one of India’s finest exponents of pace bowling.
“When I came in first, I needed swinging conditions to flourish,” he said. “A year after making my debut, I wanted to increase my pace, but I had no clue how to go about that.
“Our trainer Mr. (Shankar) Basu introduced me to a different type of training which eventually helped me to increase my pace. That, in turn, went on to help me bowl better at the death. So it’s all been part of a long process.”
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