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Why this ‘death’ bowler is very special to Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team

The experience of bowling in tight situations during IPL matches has helped Indian cricket team bowlers and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who bowled the last over in the Cuttack ODI vs England, has admitted this once again

cricket Updated: Jan 21, 2017 21:16 IST
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a key man in the Indian pace attack. His ability to swing the ball and bowl telling yorkers have been used well by the team management.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a key man in the Indian pace attack. His ability to swing the ball and bowl telling yorkers have been used well by the team management. (PTI)

England needed 22 off the last over to win the second ODI against India at Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium. England had to win to remain in the three-match series. Virat Kohli called up Bhuvneshwar Kumar and it was not a surprise move at all.

Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were saved for the death overs as England went for a historic chase of 382. Kohli banked on their IPL experience to seal the series at Barabati. Despite having a wet ball in his hand, Bhuvneshwar didn’t disappoint. A clever mix of fuller balls and wide yorkers scripted India’s 15 run win.

Lokesh Rahul (right) and Bhuvneshwar Kumar play football during a training session of the Indian cricket team (AFP)

At the Eden Gardens on Saturday, Bhuvneshwar Kumar admitted his experience of bowling such tights overs in IPL helped on Thursday. The third ODI between India vs England will be played in Kolkata on Sunday.

“We have been practising bowling yorkers with wet balls. That was one of the plans we had in pressure situation. The match could have gone either way,” said Bhuvneshwar.

“IPL helped my bowling at death. At Sunrisers Hyderabad, I had to bowl a lot at the death and I was bringing that mindset into international cricket. Tried to do the same thing in Cuttack,” said the pacer from Uttar Pradesh.

With over 700 runs scored in each of the two India vs England ODIs, it’s clear that bowlers are under pressure in every game, but Bhuvneshwar doesn’t mind the challenge.

“We are getting used to this. Nowadays, 350 is a par score and that’s how we plan in our team meetings. It’s a normal score in cricket now. It’s difficult because we come from an era where 250-300 was a par score and now 350 is not safe.

“So, it’s not easy to be a bowler especially in the death and especially with things such as bowling yorkers with a wet ball but those are the things we concentrate on during practice.”

Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Cheteshwar Pujara during a practice session (PTI)

Bhuvneshwar replaced Umesh Yadav in the Cuttack ODI. The lanky pacer was making a comeback of sorts after injury. His 10-1-63-1 was a job well done in a high-scoring contest and on a belter of a strip.

“Of course, there was a bit of nervousness when you are playing after a long time. There was no practice match and so my first two-three overs were crucial,” said Bhuvneshwar, adding: “My first over went well and that gave me confidence.”