The last four months have been tumultuous for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. From being one of India's bowling mainstays when the team departed for Down Under last November, Bhuvneshwar might now have to work his way back into the team considering the way India's pace trio of Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma impressed in the World Cup.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Pic/AFP
An ankle injury before the Test series against Australia forced Bhuvneshwar to be on the sidelines for the first three Tests. He made a comeback in the last Test at Sydney, but seemed nowhere ready for it. Next, the 25-year-old played two ODIs in the tri-series — one each against Australia and England — but there was a drastic drop in pace.
He was far from impressive in the two World Cup warm-up matches against Australia and Afghanistan, sending skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni's plans in further jeopardy after Ishant Sharma was ruled out of the mega tournament just days before it kicked off.
Bhuvneshwar finally got a game in the World Cup against UAE after Shami was given a break due to a minor injury scare. But he bowled only five overs claiming 1-19. Bhuvneshwar, in an interview to mid-day yesterday, said he is eager to get back in action in the Indian Premier League for Sunrisers Hyderabad. He also opened up about why he is not keen to bowl at express pace and the competition he faces in the Indian team.
Excited to be in action after a break:
I am excited to play matches after a long time. Although I was in Australia and was part of the training sessions, I didn't play enough matches. The excitement to play a match is different.
On the competition in Team India's bowling department:
Competition has always been there. The competition in the Indian team is fiercer as only 15 players are selected out of a billion people. The competition will always remain even if you are in the playing XI or if you are making a comeback. There is no guarantee that you will always play in the XI if you have performed once or twice. There is competition for even those who are performing. It is healthy competition which is good for the team.
On the four months in Australia:
I have learnt many things, but I can't reveal it. The England tour was good for me, but I got injured in Australia. The injury gave me some time off to think about my bowling. Everything is nice when you are in good flow, but when you are injured or not performing that is when you learn a lot about yourself, your game and what you need to develop.
On increasing his speed:
I would never compromise on my swing for speed. If anybody tells me to bowl at 140kmph, I would not love to do so because when you bowl at that pace, there are big chances of the ball not swinging enough. Yes, pace was a concern for me in Australia because I was making a comeback from my injury. I am quite happy with my speed which is around 130-135kmph. I am not worried about my speed. For me, it is important to be fit and in good rhythm.
On his target for IPL-8:
I don't set any goals. Whatever I have achieved, I have achieved without setting any goals. When you set goals and don't achieve them, it leads to disappointment. The ultimate goal is to win matches and the IPL.
On missing out on the Purple Cap by a whisker in the last IPL:
It is always a dream to be the highest wicket-taker in the IPL, but there is no guarantee with such things. I have to just keep working hard and give my 100 per cent. (Bhuvneshwar's 20 wickets in 14 matches put him in third place after Mohit Sharma [23 in 16 matches] of Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders' Sunil Narine [21 in 16 matches]).
On the best part of the IPL:
The best part is that you get to learn the nuances of the game from top cricketers. When you are playing for your country, you learn only from watching them. When players are representing their country, they might not want to talk to you or reveal their bowling secrets. There are a lot of finer points that you learn from them during the IPL. You learn about handling various situations and that helps you in your career.
Number of wickets Sunrisers Hyderabad's Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed during the last IPL