The lean 23-year-old has made such rapid strides since his debut six months ago that captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni regularly hands him the new ball over the faster Umesh Yadav or the more experienced Ishant Sharma.
Kumar has justified his skipper’s faith with his accuracy and ability to swing the ball both ways, helping the world champions reach the final as the only unbeaten team in the eight-nation Champions Trophy tournament.
“I enjoyed playing here because the ball swung and seamed a lot,” Kumar said after the win over Pakistan where his two for 19 from eight overs earned him the man-of-the-match award. “It’s good when you pitch the ball up and it swings.
That helps to take initial wickets and put the opposition under pressure.” Kumar’s impressive start saw the selectors award him a Test bow in the recent home series against Australia, where he claimed six wickets in four matches.