Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the Indian pacer would have been Team India’s greatest asset on the tour of England. In ideal circumstances, nobody among the current Indian pacers is capable of getting handed a ticket to the United Kingdom ahead of swing expert Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
In a country that favours swing seamers, the Meerut-born seamer would’ve been the perfect arsenal to carry along. Yet he is not in the squad. Right now, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is not injured, as has been the case often in his career, especially over the last four years. Unlike last year, when he got ruled out of the Australia series because of a thigh injury he suffered during an IPL game, he has been fit for the most part of this year.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar Just Doesn’t Want To Play Tests Anymore
The Syed Mushtaq Ali and the Vijay Hazare tournaments saw the 31-year-old find a place for himself in the One-dayers and T20s against England, where he impressed, and it appeared as if he was on the move again. Those tracking the pace bowler’s career and cricket say he is “focusing on the next T20 opportunities coming up”.
“Bhuvneshwar just doesn’t want to play Test cricket anymore. That drive has gone missing,” they add. “Those who have seen him from close insist he brought in a huge change in his work-drills a couple of seasons ago, doing away with heavyweight training, falling to the lure of the white-ball comfort, and avoiding those hours of long spells that are so integral to red-ball cricket.”
“To be honest, the selectors don’t even see Bhuvi hungry for 10 overs, forget Test cricket. It’s Team India’s loss no doubt because if one bowler should have made it to England, it should have been him,” say those tracking developments.
The pacer was ruled out of the Australian tour after sustaining a thigh muscle injury while playing for the SunRisers Hyderabad franchise in the IPL 2020. The 30-year-old pacer made his comeback with Uttar Pradesh in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has played the last Test against South Africa in 2018. He picked 4 T20I scalps and 6 ODI scalps against England at home.
Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami And Jasprit Bumrah Almost Certainties In WTC Final While Mohammed Siraj And Shardul Thakur May Get Chances During 5 Tests Against Hosts England
Despite Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s absence, the Indian team is travelling to England with a 24-member contingent, unlike the tour of Australia. However, this contingent includes only six pacers as a lot is expected from the likes of Jasprit Bunrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma besides Umesh Yadav.
“Ishant has been the backbone of India’s attack, and rightly so, but when was the last time he worked his way through an entire series? Injury relapses and niggles have been a constant irritant. That will leave the bulk of the responsibility on two pacers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami,” say sources.
In that, the team management is learnt to be leaning heavily on the backup pacers Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur to rise to the occasion besides Avesh Khan who’s on standby.
“Their hard work, recent performances and the ability to deal with the given conditions has been a plus. Umesh is around, but he’s been a lottery at most times. Also, expect Avesh Khan to be a find during this tour, regardless of whether he gets a Test match or not,” is how the team management is believed to be seeing things.
The team will be going through eight days of quarantine. Four of them will be spent in isolation and the remaining four in restricted spaces. That means losing that much more time in preparing for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand starting on June 18.
“Bowlers who travel to England usually require two weeks to get a hang of what line and length to bowl on the wickets there. It’s the early onset of summer but things always get tricky in the UK,” says a team source.
It’ll be a battle against time, conditions and a host team that’s desperate to see India in their backyard and payback in the same coin. India’s bowling attack, which has done very well between 2018 and now, will be facing its biggest challenge in both WTC Final and 5 Tests against England.