Melbourne: If only India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar had made the headlines for all the right reasons in the last couple of months, Indian cricket would have been better served not only in the Tests series but also in the tri-series that followed here.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Pic/AFP
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Pic/AFP 

Poor form
Unfortunately, the Uttar Pradesh seamer suffered an ankle injury just before the Test series against Australia and only played in the last Test in Sydney, where he had figures of none for 122 and one for 46 from 34 and eight overs respectively in both innings of the drawn encounter.

His last two ODIs (Jan 18 vs Australia) saw him take one for 44 off 9.5 and (Jan 20 vs England) none for 18 off two overs — both in lost causes.

In fact, such has been Bhuvneshwar's situation that Mumbai pacer Dhawal Kulkarni has been retained as the 16th and extra member reserved in case of any

The good news from the Indian camp now though is that the 25-year-old swing bowler is fit and available for selection for Sunday's second World Cup fixture against South Africa at the MCG.

Ashwin fit too
There were also fears about off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin having injured himself after being struck by an Umesh Yadav delivery while batting in the nets at the Junction Oval on Wednesday.

Team India however, cleared the air over both players yesterday. "We are receiving so many calls from media about R Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's fitness.

"The above players are very much available for selection for (the) match against South Africa," Team India's media manager Dr Baba said in an e-mail yesterday.