Always observed Gayle was uncomfortable against swing bowling, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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Bhuvi recollected his spell against Pune in 2013

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Always observed Gayle was uncomfortable against swing bowling, says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

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SportsCafe Desk

06/26/2020

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who incredibly returned figures of 0/23 in the game Chris Gayle hit 175*, revealed that he’d always noted the southpaw’s difficulty against swing and said that he used outswingers to contain the big man. Bhuvi further also spoke about his memorable tour of England in 2014.

The game between Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Pune Warriors India (PWI) in IPL 2013 remains as one of the most absurd T20 clashes of all time, for it saw an individual, in the form of Chris Gayle, go ballistic and script the highest individual score in T20 history - 175*.  

While Gayle’s monstrosity on that day is something that’s well documented, what’s completely forgotten, however, is Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s exquisite spell on that day. Despite the team conceding a mammoth 263, Bhuvneshwar remarkably returned figures of 0/23, finishing the game with an economy rate of 5.75. 

Reflecting on that particular spell, in a conversation with Deep Dasgupta on ESPN Cricinfo’s ‘CricketBaazi’, the 30-year-old revealed that he was ‘in the zone’ on that particular day. Bhuvneshwar further claimed that he used outswingers to curtail Gayle, as he’d noted in the past that the Big Jamaican generally tends to struggle against swing bowling. 

"Whenever I bowled against Chris Gayle, I observed that he was not very comfortable playing swing bowling; especially when it swings away from him. I had the same strategy in that match as well. They say, in those cases, that you are in a different 'zone' from the rest. And in that match, I was in the zone,” Bhuvneshwar told Deep Dasgupta on CricketBaazi.

“I knew that the bowlers around me were going for runs at an economy of 10 or 11 runs per over. But because I was in the zone, I was able to do what I wanted to do. So that's the kind of match that whenever I am not doing well, or my confidence is low, I think about it and realize how I was in a different zone altogether. They say sometimes you can alter the line and length by a couple of inches at will and that's exactly what happened in that match.”

While by 2014, Bhuvneshwar had established himself as a mainstay in the limited-overs setup, the right-armer got his big breakthrough in the tour of England in 2014 when he finished as the joint second-highest wicket taker in the five-match series, with a six-wicket haul at Lord’s serving as the highlight.

Incidentally, that series was Bhuvneshwar’s first-ever outside of India and speaking of the tour, the 30-year-old said that he was confident and excited, for he had the opportunity to bowl in favourable conditions for the first time in his Test career. The right-armer claimed that he enjoyed the series from an individualist standpoint and revealed that his confidence was boosted due to the fact that he bowled pretty well very early on in his spells. 

"I was confident. Not because of the fact that I was playing in England, but I knew because I would get assistance to swing the ball. And my confidence gets a boost whenever that happens because I have done that all life. Before the series, I had played 11 to 12 Tests and all in India. I didn't get to bowl much in those games given how the conditions in India were. So I was excited that I would be 'tested' over five days of cricket. 

“I was excited about doing what I had done for so many years, in first-class cricket. I was nervous as well. Because I knew if I played there, there would be a lot of pressure on me, given the ball swings there. Like I said, if your initial few deliveries go well, your confidence will get a boost. And in that series, the first two matches were very good from an individual perspective.” 

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