Bhuvneshwar Kumar Age, Biography, career, stats, Ranking & News

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Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar
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Deepak Chahar Reveals Rahul Dravid Told Him To Play All The Balls

Deepak Chahar spoke about his match-winning innings in the 2nd ODI against Sri Lanka after the 2nd ODI’s conclusion and revealed what he was told by head coach Rahul Dravid. Deepak Chahar on Tuesday night garnered all the attention as he played a remarkable inning to take India home in the 2nd ODI in Colombo.

When Deepak Chahar was batting in the middle, former India captain and head of this Sri Lanka series Rahul Dravid was seen having a few anxious moments inside the dressing room. After leading India to an improbable 3-wicket win by hitting his maiden ODI fifty, Deepak Chahar revealed what Rahul Dravid had told him before walking out to bat on Tuesday.

Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's 8th wicket partnership saw India home in the 2nd ODI vs Sri Lanka (BCCI)
Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Image Credits: BCCI

Deepak Chahar Reveals Rahul Dravid Told Him To Play All The Balls

After the dismissal of Suryakumar Yadav, who also notched his maiden ODI fifty and ended up scoring 53 off 44 balls, Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar teamed up and stitched an unbeaten 84-run stand for the eighth wicket to finish the chase successfully.

Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI
Rahul Dravid Photo Credit: PTI

Deepak Chahar was the top scorer for India, returning unbeaten 69 to bag the Player of the Match award. After the game, the 28-year-old spoke about his innings and revealed what he was told by head coach Rahul Dravid.

“No better way to win the match for the country. Rahul sir told me to play all the balls. I’ve played a few innings with India A and I think he has belief in me. He told me he thinks I’m good enough to be a No. 7. He has belief in me. Hopefully, in the coming matches I don’t have to bat,” Chahar said at the post-match presentation ceremony.

“It was a decent score [to chase] on this wicket. Only one thing that was going on in my mind: this is the kind of innings I’ve been dreaming of. When we came under 50 is when I believed we can win. Before that, it was ball by ball. I took some risks after,” he concluded.

Deepak Chahar’s unbeaten 69 is the 2nd highest score by an Indian No.8 in ODIs. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja stands on the top of the list with his knock of 77 runs against New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup in Manchester. The visitors have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. India will face Sri Lanka in the third and the final match of the series on Thursday at the same venue.

Deepak Chahar’s 69 Scripted Visitors India’s Series Sealing Victory In The 2nd ODI

Tail-ender Deepak Chahar brought India back from the dead with a steely 69* off 82 balls and script the visiting team’s series-sealing victory in the second ODI against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. Chasing 276, India was down and out at 193 for seven before Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19 not out off 28) forged an unbeaten 84-run stand to seal a memorable win for the visitors who extended their record of not losing an ODI on Sri Lanka soil since 2012.

Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Deepak Chahar, whose highest score before this game was a mere 12, showed remarkable resolve and composure under pressure to take his team over the line with five balls to spare. He fittingly hit the winning boundary.

Earlier, Suryakumar Yadav and Krunal Pandya stitched a 44-run stand before Deepak Chahar produced a stunner from nowhere for a remarkable win. Earlier, in Sri Lanka’s innings, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal led India’s decent effort with the ball. Pretty much like the series opener, most of the Sri Lankan batsmen got starts but failed to capitalize after the hosts opted to bat.
Avishka Fernando (50 off 71) and Charith Asalanka (65 off 68) struck fine half-centuries but the home team wasn’t disciplined enough to post an imposing total. Chamika Karunaratne (44 not out off 33) came up with another timely cameo to take the team past 270.
Yuzvendra Chahal (3/50) was the pick of the bowlers while pacers Deepak Chahar (2/53) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3/54) too got wickets primarily due to the profligacy of the home team batsmen. Openers Avishka Fernando (50 off 71) and Minod Bhanuka (36 off 42) took Sri Lanka to 59 for loss in the first 10 overs.
India 277 for 7 (Chahar 69*, Suryakumar 53, Hasaranga 3-37) beat Sri Lanka 275 for 9 (Asalanka 65, Fernando 50, Chahal 3-50)
Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar's 8th wicket partnership saw India home in the 2nd ODI vs Sri Lanka (BCCI)
Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Image Credits: BCCI
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar Reveals The Aim Was To Play Till The Last 50th Over

Bhuvneshwar Kumar stated that the duo’s aim was just to take the match till the last over against Sri Lanka after stitching a match-winning partnership with Deepak Chahar who smashed an unbeaten 69 and shared an unbeaten 84-run stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar (19*) to take India home after the visitors were reduced to 193/7 in the second ODI.

India was down and almost out in their chase but Deepak Chahar made sure India get past the target in the final over. Sri Lanka had set India a target of 276 after Charith Asalanka playing only his 4th ODI scored 65 off 68 balls.,

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar (Photo: Twitter/BCCI)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar (Photo: Twitter/BCCI)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Aim Was To Play Till The Last Over

India needed 16 runs to win in the last three overs and the duo ensured the visitors do not lose any wickets and then guided the Shikhar Dhawan-led side to win with five balls to spare. With this victory, India has taken an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

“Our aim was to play till the last over. We want to take it as deep as possible so we can score runs. There was not much planning, the only plan we had is to play till the last. The way Deepak batted was amazing,” Bhuvneshwar Kumar Told ANI in a post-match conference organized by BCCI.

Charith Asalanka top-scored for Sri Lanka with 65 ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images
Charith Asalanka top-scored for Sri Lanka with 65 ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

Batting first, Sri Lanka was on 194/6 in the 40th over when Charith Asalanka revived the hosts’ innings. Charith Asalanka’s fighting fifty kept Sri Lanka ticking the scoreboard as the hosts reached 244 before he got out.

In the last two overs, Sri Lanka scored 23 runs to reach 275 despite losing two wickets in the final six balls. This win is also the first time India has successfully chased down a target of 250+ without any of the top three scoring 50+ since beating Zimbabwe in Auckland in WC 2015, chasing 288.

Deepak Chahar’s 69 And Suryakumar Yadav’s 53 Snatches Win Against Sri Lanka In The 2nd ODI From The Jaws Of Defeat

Sri Lanka had India by the collar. Chasing 276, the visitors was 116 for 5 at one stage and later 193/7. When No. 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar joined No. 8 Deepak Chahar at the crease, they still had 83 runs to get off 89 balls.
But they refused to be beaten. Deepak Chahar, with one List A half-century to his name before this innings, fought doggedly and intelligently, producing a stirring 69 not out that wrenched the game from Sri Lanka’s fist.
Suryakumar Yadav
Suryakumar Yadav (BCCI)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with three List A half-centuries on his record, supported him staunchly through the high-pressure overs, finding singles, hitting only two boundaries through his 28-ball innings. And together they achieved the target almost comfortably in the end – with five balls to spare, the batting of the spinners unrequired.

Suryakumar Yadav also struck a graceful 53 off 44 to raise India up from the hole they had fallen into.

India 277 for 7 (Chahar 69*, Suryakumar 53, Hasaranga 3-37) beat Sri Lanka 275 for 9 (Asalanka 65, Fernando 50, Chahal 3-50)

Ishan Kishan
Ishan Kishan
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Ishan Kishan Became Fearless Due To Meditation, Says Coach Uttam Mazumdar

Ishan Kishan’s coach Uttam Mazumdar has highlighted the importance of meditation in the recent success of the 23-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman. Uttam Mazumdar further stated that he wasn’t surprised when Ishan Kishan stepped out to hit a six off the first delivery he faced in ODI cricket.

Ishan Kishan smashed a blistering 59 off 42 balls in his ODI debut, helping India win the first game against Sri Lanka by seven wickets. What stood out was his confidence to hit the first ball he faced in ODI cricket for a six by dancing down the track.

Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)
Ishan Kishan (Image Credit: BCCI)

Ishan Kishan Became Fearless Due To Meditation Which He Practiced After IPL 2021 Postponement: Coach Uttam Mazumdar

After the postponement of IPL 2021, Ishan Kishan took to meditating daily for 20 minutes. His coach asked him to envision his best knocks while thinking about his cricketing dreams coming true. Apart from meditation, the Indian youngster also took to practicing yoga for two hours daily under the advice of Uttam Mazumdar.

Ishan Kishan. Photo Credit: (Twitter)
Ishan Kishan. Photo Credit: (Twitter)

Speaking during an interaction with Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika, his coach explained how meditation has made Ishan Kishan completely fearless.

“Since he started meditating, all his fears were gone. Confidence has also increased a lot. He had the skills to start his one-day journey with a six. So I was not surprised after he stepped out against Dhananjay de Silva. He also hit four off the first ball in his Ranji Trophy debut. In this way, he tries to reduce the pressure.”

His coach explained how in modern-day cricket, it is not enough for batters to play just textbook shots as they need to keep the scoring rate up by playing aggressive strokes.

Uttam Mazumdar added: “Cricket has changed a lot now. You have to bat according to the text book and also push your team’s score forward by playing big shots. In the first match, Prithvi and Ishan’s fearless cricket helped the team win with 15 pvers to spare. I would want them to play with a similar approach in the upcoming game as well.”

After his impressive ODI debut, Ishan Kishan revealed that he had already announced in the dressing room that he would try to hit the first ball he faced for a six. Wicket-keeper batsman Ishan Kishan, who made his One Day International debut for India on 18 July, scored a fast 59 off 42 balls against Sri Lanka. Ishan Kishan became the first Indian batsman to attain a half-century in the debut match in both T20 and One Day Internationals.

Ishan Kishan was the top run-getter for Mumbai Indians in the 2020 season, scoring 516 runs at an average of 57.33 while he had an indifferent campaign in IPL 2021 managing just 73 runs from 5 games averaging a dismal 14.6.

Ishan Kishan Told Everyone That Wherever The First Ball Lands, He Will Hit It For A Six Which He Did In Style

Speaking with official broadcaster Sony after the game, Ishan Kishan said that his mind was already made up even before stepping onto the field.

“Actually, everyone knew it, inside also I had already told everyone that once I go, wherever the first ball is, I will hit it for a six. Because the odds were in my favor – birthday plus a good pitch and I was playing my first ODI and I felt I could target him.”

India vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: Skipper Shikhar Dhawan, debutant Ishant Kishan shine in 7-wicket victory over SL By: PTI | Updated: July 18, 2021 10:34 PM India vs Sri Lanka, 1st ODI: Chasing 262, India completed the task with 80 balls to spare at the R Premadasa Stadium. Kuldeep Chahal India vs Sri Lanka India's Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka's Avishka Fernando during the first one day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)
India’s Yuzvendra Chahal celebrates the wicket of Sri Lanka’s Avishka Fernando during the first one-day international cricket match between Sri Lanka and India in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (AP Photo)

India will be looking to wrap up the series when they take on Sri Lanka in the second ODI in Colombo on the date. Sri Lankan skipper Dasun Shanaka won the toss and elected to bat against India in the second ODI. India fielded an unchanged team in the 2nd ODI while pacer Kasun Rajitha came in for fast bowler Isuru Udana in the Sri Lankan XI.

Sri Lanka was 137/4 as Yuzvendra Chahal accounted for 2 scalps and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Deepak Chahar picked a wicket apiece.  For Sri Lanka, opener Avishka Fernando scored 50.

Hardik Pandya Bowling
Hardik Pandya Bowling
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Hardik Pandya Should Be Utilised Better In The 2nd ODI, Says Aakash Chopra

Aakash Chopra wants all-rounder Hardik Pandya to be utilized more effectively as a bowler in the second ODI against Sri Lanka. This was among the few wishes the cricketer-turned-commentator shared in a video on his YouTube channel.

Hardik Pandya bowled five overs in the first ODI of the series, two as a one-change bowler and three at the death. The all-rounder is returning from back and shoulder injuries and will hope to attain peak bowling fitness soon.

Hardik Pandya Image Source : GETTY
Hardik Pandya Image Source: GETTY

Aakash Chopra: Hardik Pandya Should Be Utilized Better And Deepak Chahar Should Bowl In The Last 4-5 Overs

Apart from wanting the junior Pandya to bowl a few additional overs, Aakash Chopra hopes Deepak Chahar is given a chance by the team to showcase his death-bowling skills. India used six bowling options with three of them, Deepak Chahar claiming two wickets for himself apart from Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav to mark a fine bowling performance in the 1st ODI.

“Hardik Pandya to be utilized better. He didn’t get to bowl at the right time in the last match. You need to bowl Deepak Chahar in the last 4-5 overs and bowl Hardik before that. You should try to get 7-8 overs from him. Then you will come to know if Hardik as a bowler is getting there.”

Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The former Indian opener also wished that the visitors get a chance to set a target.

“India should get to bat first. My greed is that if you get to bat first, you will get the full 50 overs, someone can score 100-150 runs and India can post a total of 325-330 runs. Our batsmen will get more time to express themselves.”

India chased down the 263-run target in less than 37 overs in the first ODI. They could post a massive score if they get to bat first and play in the same vein as they did in the last match.

Aakash Chopra: India Should Take Wickets With The New Ball

Aakash Chopra hopes India can strike blows with the new ball, which is an area they have been found wanting of late. He observed that India lacked penetration with the new ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was disappointed as he went wicketless and was punished for 63 runs in his nine wicketless overs.

“We should take wickets with the new ball. We can only improve when we admit our mistakes. Bumrah, Shami, Bhuvi, Deepak Chahar – we haven’t been picking wickets with the new ball, I want that to be changed.”

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

The 43-year-old also wants India hopefuls like batsmen Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, and Suryakumar Yadav to play substantial knocks in the second ODI.

“Whichever youngster, whether it is Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan or Suryakumar Yadav, gets a start should make a big score. These small scores look good for a while but after some time you will forget that. The main team does not have vacant spots, so in such a case 100-150 are remembered.”

Aakash Chopra signed off by hoping that Sri Lanka plays better and makes it a more even contest. The weather may play spoilsport and if rain doesn’t occur, the fans would watch another entertaining match.

Shikhar Dhawan enjoyed a perfect captaincy debut for India against Sri Lanka in the first of their three ODIs at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, with his young and inexperienced team producing a performance that matched that of a world-dominating and seasoned outfit. India played as per the script and expectations to crush Sri Lanka by 7 wickets and more than 14 overs to spare, taking a 1-0 lead.

The architect of India’s commanding victory ― one that should particularly be noticed by Sri Lanka’s former World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga for his bizarre comments before the series ― were youngsters in Prithvi Shaw, Ishan Kishan, the captain himself, and the leg-spin bowling pair of Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav.

India Squad For Sri Lanka Tour (Image: BCCI)
India Squad For Sri Lanka Tour (Image: BCCI)
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Sanjay Manjrekar Will Be Surprised If Sri Lanka Wins Even One Game Against India

Sanjay Manjrekar, the former Indian cricketer and cricket expert cum commentator feels the Indian team are firm favourites to win the ODI as well as the T20I series against Sri Lanka in their own den.

Although this Indian team has a number of fresh faces, Sanjay Manjrekar stressed that the presence of experienced players like Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya in their squad gives India the edge.

Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics
Sanjay Manjrekar | Sportzpics

Sanjay Manjrekar Will Be Surprised If Sri Lanka Wins Even One Game

In his column for the Hindustan Times, Sanjay Manjrekar also acknowledged the fact that the selectors have given a long rope to Kuldeep Yadav and Manish Pandey. The duo is part of the squad, despite being unable to prove their mettle in the IPL 2021 phase one.

Sanjay Manjrekar feels there is enough experience in this Indian team to get the better of Sri Lanka. He further stated that he would be surprised if Sri Lanka won even a single game.

Kuldeep Yadav
Kuldeep Yadav Photo Credit: AP

“In Shikhar Dhawan and Hardik Pandya, India has two game-changers with experience. I like the fact that the selectors have not been completely influenced by the IPL in their selection. Kuldeep and Manish Pandey get another chance to show that they still have enough for Indian cricket to stay invested in them. I will be surprised if Sri Lanka puts one over this Indian team,” Sanjay Manjrekar wrote.

Compared to the 2018 season – where he played 16 matches for KKR, Kuldeep Yadav featured in just 9 games for the franchise in 2019 followed by 5 matches in IPL 2020. He stayed on the bench in the first phase of IPL 2021.

Kuldeep Yadav last played in the three-match ODI series against England this year, but he was not able to take any wickets. In the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, Kuldeep Yadav was not given a chance in playing XI by his franchise Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

Manish Pandey has played 5 games for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2021 and amassed 193 runs averaging 48.25 with a comparatively below-par strike rate of 123.71. SRH was languishing at the bottom of the points table with 2 points (only 1 win from 7 IPL games).

Sanjay Manjrekar: Indian Team Touring Sri Lanka Isn’t A Second String Team

Given the restrictions due to COVID-19, the BCCI decided to send a separate team to Sri Lanka and let the main Indian team comprising of more experienced Test specialists stay back in England to prepare for the Test series.

However, former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga stated that this was a ‘second-string’ Indian side and it was an insult to Sri Lankan cricket.  Sanjay Manjrekar rubbished the statement and explained why the Indian team sent to Sri Lanka is not a ‘second-string’ side.

“This is not a second-string Indian team. India’s Test team is in England and in Sri Lanka we have the Indian T20 team. Barring only a few players, this is India’s full-strength T20 team. A second-string team is when an entirely different squad is put up by a country in the same format. I would like to think that India’s T20 cricket is in fine shape,” Sanjay Manjrekar concluded.

Shikhar Dhawan Image Source : AP
Shikhar Dhawan Image Source: AP

Shikhar Dhawan will captain the 20 members Indian side. Shikhar Dhawan was the leading run-scorer in IPL 2021 before it was postponed with 380 runs from 8 games averaging 54.28. Shikhar Dhawan was the 2nd highest run-getter in IPL 2020 too with 618 runs in 17 games. Bhuvneshwar Kumar will be the vice-captain of the team during the tour of Sri Lanka.

The announced squad included six uncapped players, five of whom received their maiden call-ups for team India. Ahead of the first match- Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Padikkal, Nitish Rana, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Chakravarthy, and Chetan Sakariya were in high spirits and looking forward to the series.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
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India Will Think Of Pakistan Game In T20I World Cup Once IPL 2021 Is Over, Says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who will spearhead the pace attack in the upcoming Sri Lankan series starting July 18 has said that a clash between India and Pakistan is always a “high intensity” game but the team is not currently thinking about the T20 World Cup as there is a lot of cricket left before the marquee event.

India’s limited-overs vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar for the Sri Lanka series led by Shikhar Dhawan expressed his excitement on facing arch-rivals Pakistan in the upcoming T20 World Cup and called it a high-pressure and high-intensity match. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar pointed out that India’s focus was on the next Sri Lanka and England series before the postponed season of the Indian Premier League 2021 which is expected to start from the third week of September.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: India Will Think Of Pakistan Game In T20I WC Once IPL 2021 Is Over

Indian teams and players from other countries will already be present in UAE as the BCCI is also set to host the remaining matches of the IPL 2021 in the Gulf nation.

Notably, hosts India has been placed in the same group as arch-rivals Pakistan as the draws were done on Friday in the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman later this year. The last time the two teams squared off was in the 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup on June 16, which India had comfortably won by 89 runs via the D/L method.

“Look, it is always exciting to play against Pakistan, and it is always a pressure and high-intensity match. But, to be honest, we have not really thought about how it is going to be because we have a lot of cricket left,” Bhuvneshwar Kumar, vice-captain of the Sri Lanka-bound Indian outfit, said.

Representational image of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad
Representational image of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup trophy | AFP / Jewel Samad

“We have got matches in Sri Lanka and of course Test matches in England and then the IPL and then the World Cup. Once we get off the IPL, we will start thinking about that,” Bhuvneshwar Kumar added.

The Groups of Super 12s have been selected on the basis of team rankings as of March 20, according to the International Cricket Council. Two teams will join each of the groups from the qualifying rounds. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in India but was moved out of the country due to an expected third wave of the coronavirus.
Even before that, the tournament was supposed to be held in Australia in 2020 but Covid-19 prompted it to be postponed. Now Australia will hold the event in 2022.

India And Pakistan Have Not Played Bilateral Tests For 14 Years And Limited Overs For 8 Years

India and Pakistan have not played the Test series for more than 14 years. As far as bilateral series in ODIs and T20Is are concerned, it has been over eight years. While they face off each other during ICC events and Asia Cup.

The political tension between the two neighbouring countries flared up after the terror attack in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel. Since then, there have been many incidents that have erupted on the borders of India and Pakistan. As a result, it had affected the game of cricket between the two countries.

India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES
India and Pakistan rarely play against each other but have a heated rivalry. (Photo by Tharaka Basnayaka/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The 2019 World Cup in England was when the two teams last met at a neutral venue. India won that match by 89 runs. Pakistan and India’s last bilateral ties at either of the two neighbouring countries were 2 T20Is and 3 ODIs in India way back in 2012.

The two Asian rivals now only play matches during the ICC events and Asia Cup which relatively has become one-sided affairs with the Men in Blue edging the Men in Green.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar Hasn’t Prioritised Limited-Overs Cricket Over Tests

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, pacer and vice-captain of the Indian team at Sri Lanka, said that he has not prioritized limited-overs cricket over Tests and is ready to play in whatever format he is asked to by the management or selectors.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has grappled with recurring injuries in the last three years. He hasn’t played Test cricket since 2018 and was recently overlooked from the 20-men squad for the upcoming Test summer in England.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar[photo: Twitter]

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: There Is No Priority Whether It’s White Or Red Ball And Will Definitely Try To Contribute If Selected In Tests

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has last played Test cricket and a First-Class game more than three years ago but says he is ready for top-flight red-ball cricket and if given a chance, the India fast bowler would contribute and put his best foot forward.  In May, a report had claimed that Bhuvneshwar Kumar was not interested in playing Test cricket anymore, which the fast bowler dismissed later in the day.

“To be honest, there is no priority for me, whether it is white ball or red ball. So, if I am selected as part of the red ball cricket team, I will definitely try to contribute. I am not looking to prioritise white ball or red ball cricket. Just working normally to prepare for all the formats,” he told the media in a virtual interaction. 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

“If I get a chance in any of the formats, I will look to contribute. I am not looking ahead, say at 18-20 months. Have to prepare so that I have to play all three formats. If I get a chance then I definitely will try to contribute,” he added. 

Clearing the air once and for all, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, during a press conference on Friday, ahead of the first ODI between India and Sri Lanka, clarified that he is not prioritizing any format over the other and is always available whenever the team requires him in whichever format.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar Is Satisfied With His Career

The 31-year-old right-arm pacer has not played multi-day format cricket since January 2018 when he appeared in a Test in South Africa. He said he has no regrets as injuries are part and parcel of the game.

“I am satisfied with my career. Injuries happen; ups and downs happen. I try to recover as quickly as possible from injury and return to the ground. Whatever I can contribute to the team, I want to contribute in future as well,” he said further.

The pacer also said that he hasn’t changed much in bowling style, except that he wants to get over injuries quickly.

“Not really (I haven’t changed much). The only thing I have worked on is how to get over those injuries quickly. Not any major thing, just particular workload — how to recover from it quickly and a few things that trainers and physios advised me to do. But there is not any particular thing. Nothing has changed,” added the fast bowler. 

The new ball bowler, who has represented India in 117 ODIs and 48 T20 Internationals, is by far the most experienced bowler in the Indian line-up on the Sri Lanka tour, said he is guiding youngsters.

“These are very talented young guys. They have done well in their respective IPL teams. They have made a place in Indian team. We never try to make anything complicated. Being a senior member, I have not done any rocket science, just tried to do things that we can contribute,” he added.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, & Navdeep Saini
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, & Navdeep Saini

Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack with support from the likes of Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, and Chetan Sakariya. Hardik Pandya will be another option as a pace-bowling all-rounder if he is fit to bowl.

Sanju Samson (File photo)
Sanju Samson (File photo)
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Sanju Samson Deserves A Chance For Being More Experienced Who Has Been Captaining Rajasthan Royals Too, Says Mohammad Kaif

Mohammad Kaif, former Indian middle-order batsman feels India’s captain for the Sri Lanka tour Shikhar Dhawan and head coach Rahul Dravid will have their tasks cut out in selecting the keeper, but for starters, they will give Sanju Samson the nod.
With Rishabh Pant and KL Rahul with the Indian Test side in England, it will boil down to a choice between Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan – the wicketkeepers in India’s young side – in the Sri Lanka series.
Mohammad Kaif
Mohammad Kaif

Mohammad Kaif: Selecting The Keeper Is A Tough Job But Sanju Samson Is Ahead For Being More Experienced Than Ishan Kishan

Sanju Samson is talented but inconsistent. The gap between his jaw-dropping innings is at times frustrating even for his biggest admirers. Only 7 T20Is despite being one of the most attractive players in the IPL for six-seven years, do not do justice to his talent but they also highlight where the right-hander has been lacking all these years.

Sanju Samson had a relatively poor IPL 2020 for Rajasthan Royals managing only 375 runs in 14 games averaging 28.84 but was going strong in IPL 2021 managing 277 runs in 7 games averaging 46.16 and scored a ton. He led from the front as captain as the team was placed 5th before IPL 2021 was suspended for bio-bubble breach.

Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson (Image Credit: Twitter)

First, it was MS Dhoni’s towering presence that kept Sanju Samson away from donning the gloves for India. Then Rishabh Pant appeared to be winning the keeper’s race in limited-overs after a successful run in Tests and now Sanju Samson has another competitor for that keeper’s slot in Ishan Kishan.

“It’s going to be a very tough job for Rahul Dravid as a coach and Shikhar Dhawan as captain. There are only six matches and you have a big squad. But I think Sanju Samson has been there for the last couple of years.

“He has played for India before. He has gone to New Zealand, Australia. He has been captaining Rajasthan Royals too,” Mohammad Kaif told Hindustan Times when asked about the keeper’s choice for the first ODI in a virtual interaction organized by Sony Sports.

Sanju Samson had forced his way into the Indian T20I side as a batsman on the back of stunning scores in the IPL and also the domestic white-ball tournaments Vijay Hazare and Syed Mushtaq Ali trophies.

But the Kerala youngster’s inability to put up a good score in New Zealand and then in Australia, promoted India to look towards Ishan Kishan for the home series against England. The Mumbai Indians left-hander grabbed the opportunity with both hands by slamming 56 off 32 balls on debut.

Mohammad Kaif: All Eyes Will Be On Crucial Member Hardik Pandya

Mohammad Kaif, however, believes Sanju Samson deserves the first chance.

“I think in ODIs, Rahul Dravid and Shikhar Dhawan would prefer those who have already played for India. The experienced players might get priority in the first couple of matches. Sanju is one of them,” Mohammad Kaif added.

The Indian side in Sri Lanka is without some of their top players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravindra Jadeja. Mohammad Kaif said it will provide an ideal opportunity for the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, and Hardik Pandya to showcase their leadership qualities.

“Shikhar and Prithvi have been playing well. Suryakumar Yadav has done really well for India and in the IPL. Then you’ve got Hardik Pandya. All eyes will be on him How he does on this tour. He’s a very crucial member of this team. Being an all-rounder, Hardik hopefully gets to bowl because when he bowls, he brings in that balance to the side. There will be eyes on his fitness,” Mohammad Kaif added while responding to the query.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Hardik Pandya | Getty
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (L) and Hardik Pandya (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is on a comeback trail, and wrist spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will also like to make a strong for themselves before the selectors finalize the squad for the T20 World Cup later this year.

“There will be a keen interest in Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fitness. He was not a part of the Test side. So he would want to put his best foot forward. Kuldeep and Chahal might play together. They haven’t played together for a long time. Kuldeep hasn’t played regularly for the last few months.

“He will be looking forward to making a mark. The senior players will get the first preference and from there on, they will see how it goes,” Kaif, who is a part of the broadcast team for the India-Sri Lanka limited-overs series, said.

Sanju Samson has scored just 83 runs at a lowly average of 11.85 in the seven T20Is he has played for Team India.
The 22-year-old Ishan Kishan made his debut in the second T20I against England in Ahmedabad and smashed 56 runs off 32 balls which was studded with 5 fours and 4 sixes.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
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It Will Be Beneficial For The Team If The 6 Uncapped Players Carry The Confidence Of IPL In The Sri Lanka Series, Says Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, tour vice-captain says it is not the case as the entire lot of six uncapped players in the squad make it seem that India has come with an inexperienced group for the white-ball series against Sri Lanka has the requisite confidence thanks to IPL.

With major stars like skipper Virat Kohli and his limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma in England for an upcoming Test series, the Indian team for series against Sri Lanka is being led by opener Shikhar Dhawan and features half a dozen uncapped players.

Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP
Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar Image-AP

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: It Will Be Beneficial For The Team If The 6 Uncapped Players Carry The Confidence Of IPL In The Sri Lanka Series

Many of the youngsters impressed in the suspended Indian Premier League 2021 and have been rewarded with their maiden India call-up. They include opening batsman Devdutt Padikkal, pacer Chetan Sakaria, middle-order batsman Nitish Rana, all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham, opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, and spinner Varun Chakravarthy.

“We have good players and they have experience of IPL, they are young but they have experience of IPL, playing T20 for so many years and they have done well for their teams,” Bhuvneshwar Kumar said on the Star Sport show ‘Follow the Blues.’

Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)
Varun Chakravarthy (File Photo)

“So, it will be beneficial for the team that they will carry the confidence of IPL and they are young and talented, there is a good mix with the experienced players and this will be a good tour. Young players who have come for their first tour and came after doing well in IPL so if they do well here then it will be great for their confidence,” Bhuvneshwar Kumar added.

Nitish Rana, Devdutt Padikkal, Rituraj Gaikwad, Krishnappa Gautam, Varun Chakravarthy, and Chetan Sakariya have never played for Team India before.  Out of these six, Varun Chakravarthy is the only player who has been selected in Team India before, but due to fitness issues, he could not play for Team India.

Krishnappa Gowtham, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaekwad have impressed with their performances in the last two IPL seasons, while Nitish Rana has been in great form over the years. Chetan Sakariya’s name is a bit surprising but the 23-year-old has impressed a lot with his bowling in IPL 2021.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Focus Was To Make A Comeback By Playing Domestic Cricket Before The England Series

The senior pacer had suffered a thigh muscle injury during last year’s IPL which ruled him out of the league as well as the tour of Australia. The bowler made a return to the national squad after a long injury lay-off in the limited-overs home series against England in March. He said playing domestic cricket helped him stay motivated.

“When I was almost recovered, domestic cricket was going on as well. So my focus was to get fit and make a comeback and then I started the preparation for the match,” he said.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2021
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2021[photo: Twitter]

“Before the England series, I played domestic cricket, so that it helps me get the required match practice. One shouldn’t take things lightly while playing domestic cricket and that kept me motivated to play for India and to stay fit,” he added.

The India-Sri Lanka series, which was originally slated, to begin with, the three ODIs on July 13, had to be rescheduled after the home team’s batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst G T Niroshan tested positive for the dreaded virus on their return from the UK tour. The engagement, which comprises three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals, will now start from July 18.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AP Photo)
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar Played Domestic Cricket Before The England Series Which Kept Him Motivated After A Long Injury Lay-Off

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, one of the premier fat-bowlers in India, is always accurate with his line and length while being a potent swing bowler. The right-handed medium pacer was a regular in all formats of the game for India but injury troubles have restricted his contribution in the past few years. Bhuvneshwar Kumar hasn’t played consistently since the 2019 Cricket World Cup due to back troubles.

The 31-year-old pacer then suffered a thigh muscle injury during last year’s IPL which ruled him out of the league as well as the tour of Australia.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar Played Domestic Cricket Before The England Series Which Kept Him Motivated

The pace bowler made a return to the national squad after a long injury lay-off in the limited-overs home series against England in March. He said playing domestic cricket helped him stay motivated.

“When I was almost recovered, domestic cricket was going on as well. So my focus was to get fit and make a comeback and then I started the preparation for the match,” he said.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar[photo: Twitter]

“Before the England series, I played domestic cricket, so that it helps me get the required match practice. One shouldn’t take things lightly while playing domestic cricket and that kept me motivated to play for India and to stay fit,” he added.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has grappled with recurring injuries in the last three years. He hasn’t played Test cricket since 2018 and was recently overlooked from the 20-men squad for the upcoming Test summer in England. The Syed Mushtaq Ali and the Vijay Hazare tournaments saw the 31-year-old find a place for himself in the ODIs and T20s against England, where he impressed picking 4 T20I scalps and 6 ODI scalps against England at home.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar: The Entire Lot Of Uncapped Players Has The Requisite Confidence Due To IPL

Six uncapped players in the squad might make it seem that India has come with an inexperienced group for the white-ball series against Sri Lanka but tour vice-captain Bhuvneshwar Kumar says it is not the case as the entire lot has the requisite confidence due to performing well especially in IPL and domestic circuit.

With Test regulars like skipper Virat Kohli and his limited-overs deputy Rohit Sharma in England for an upcoming 5 match Test series against England, the Indian team for series against Sri Lanka is being led by opener Shikhar Dhawan and features half a dozen uncapped players.

Shikhar Dhawan Image Source : AP
Shikhar Dhawan Image Source: AP

Many of them impressed in the suspended Indian Premier League 2021 and have been rewarded with their maiden India call-up. They include opener Devdutt Padikkal, pacer Chetan Sakaria, middle-order batsman Nitish Rana, all-rounder Krishnappa Gowtham, opener Ruturaj Gaikwad, and spinner Varun Chakravarthy.

“We have good players and they have experience of IPL, they are young but they have experience of IPL, playing T20 for so many years and they have done well for their teams,” Bhuvneshwar said on the Star Sport show ‘Follow the Blues.’

“So, it will be beneficial for the team that they will carry the confidence of IPL and they are young and talented, there is a good mix with the experienced players and this will be a good tour.Young players who have come for their first tour and came after doing well in IPL so if they do well here then it will be great for their confidence,” he added.

The India-Sri Lanka series, which was originally slated, to begin with, the three ODIs from July 13 onwards, had to be rescheduled after the home team’s batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst G T Niroshan tested positive for the dreaded virus on their return from the UK tour. The tour which comprises three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals will now start from July 18.

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