Former captain Nasser Hussain wants the management to fly the experienced swing expert Bhuvneshwar Kumar to England for the five-Test series starting August 4, after India’s average dismal show with the ball in the WTC final, in which New Zealand beat India comfortably by 8 wickets to be crowned winners.
The Indian cricket team went to England with a decent fast-bowling unit in veterans Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, and youngsters Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, and Shardul Thakur, while keeping Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, and Arzan Nagwaswalla as the reserve players.
Nasser Hussain Wants Indian Team Management To Fly The Experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar To England For 5 Match Test Series
In the build-up to the WTC final, there were discussions on the bowling combination which India may opt to field in the WTC Final and 5 Tests against England. The debate continued before the Playing XI was finally announced on the match eve and Indian skipper Virat Kohli went ahead with three pacers and two spinners and refused to change it even after Day 1 of the World Test Championship against New Zealand was washed out.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar missed the flight to England and was instead picked for the limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka. However, given how barring Mohammed Shami, no other bowler was able to generate swing in conditions favouring seam bowlers, Nasser Hussain feels Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be a valuable addition to the team.
“Bhuvneshwar should be called up for the England series. Though he has injury concerns, even if he can play two or three Tests for India, the team will greatly benefit. The conditions will suit him and we all saw how the team is missing a genuine swing bowler,” Nasser Hussain said on air during Day 3 of the WTC final at Southampton’s Ageas Bowl.
Nasser Hussain does make a valid point though as Mohammed Shami picked up 4/76 and Ishant Sharma claimed 3/48, which restricted New Zealand’s first-innings lead to 32, Jasprit Bumrah went wicketless in the WTC final.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Absence Was Felt As He Did Well During The 2014 Tour
Mohammed Shami picked up a four-wicket haul in the first innings and even though Ishant Sharma accounted for 3/48, there wasn’t much on the surface for either the veteran of 100 Tests or the latest sensation Jasprit Bumrah.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has a good record in England, having picked up 19 wickets at an average of 26.63 with two five-wicket-hauls in five Tests. During the 2014 tour, Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 19 wickets from five Tests with a best of 6/82 but did not make the cut for the 2018 tour.
But Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn’t played a First-Class match in over three years with his last Test dating back to January of 2018. Besides, whether Bhuvneshwar Kumar can have the time to fly to England from Sri Lanka (as he was named vice-captain for the Sri Lanka series) and complete the necessary quarantine is another point that cannot be ignored.
If needed by the management, he surely can make the final two or three Tests but it is unlikely that India will consider the 31-year-old quick especially with the likes of Mohammed Siraj and Navdeep Saini already available. The 31-year-old found a place for himself in the ODIs and T20s against England after a long injury layoff, where he impressed picking 4 T20I scalps and 6 ODI scalps against England at home.
Despite being overlooked from the 20-men squad for the upcoming Test summer in England, he was picked in the limited-overs team for the Sri Lanka series comprising of 3 ODIs and 3 T20Is.