Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who carried the tag of being a specialist swing bowler without pace, when he burst onto the scene, has revealed that he wished he had more pace, but admitted that he never went chasing speed. Bhuvi revealed that changing his training regime then helped him increase his pace.
On his very first delivery in ODI cricket, Meerut-born Bhuvneshwar Kumar stunned Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez - and subsequently, the whole world - with a vicious inswinger that knocked over the right-hander’s off-stump and that is a picture that still remains fresh on the minds of the people who watched that encounter.
That was merely the beginning as with time, the right-armer thrived more and more on his prodigal ability to swing the ball both ways, and troubled many a batsman around the world. However, Bhuvneshwar’s ability to swing the ball, at least during his initial days, came at a cost as him often being down on pace meant that he was branded a ‘swing bowler’ who was incapable of performing in unfavourable conditions.
Reflecting on the ‘swing bowler’ tag, Bhuvneshwar, speaking to Deep Dasgupta on ESPNCricinfo’s CricketBaazi chat show, revealed that he was not really bothered by it. The 30-year-old admitted that when he was young, he wished he had more pace, but stated that he never went and chased speed.
"It didn't really bother me. The tag was associated with me for two years when my pace wasn't great. My pace was less than what is considered 'decent' for an international bowler. I was able to get more swing on the ball because of this,” Bhuvneshwar told Deep Dasgupta on ‘CricketBaazi’.
“But I was never troubled by this as whoever I spoke to, they told me everyone has a strength as a player. So I realised swing was my strength. I wished I had more pace, but I didn't try and chase more pace.”
However, in stark contrast to what his speed was when he started off, Bhuvneshwar’s bowling has seen a considerable jump in pace over the course of the last three years and according to the right-armer, the secret to success for the same was him changing his training and workout regimes. Bhuvneshwar admitted that he didn’t want to sacrifice his swing merely for pace, but added that he felt a considerable increase in his bowling speed after he changed his training routine.
"I did want to increase my pace, but not at the expense of diminishing my ability to swing the ball. The process to increase your pace is to pay better attention to your fitness, or train harder in the gym, which I was following.
"I changed my workout along with the new trainer who joined the team, which helped me. That type of training was different from my routine, which in some way helped me increase my pace while bowling. I then felt whenever I tried to increase the pace, my body also adapted and helped in the process.”