Bhuvneshwar, 27, the leading wickettaker in IPL 2016 with 23 wickets, helped Sunrisers claim the title, and is again proving a quiet success. He leads the bowling charts with 10 wickets going into the team’s fifth match, against Kings XI Punjab at home on Monday.
Bhuvi leads his teammate Rashid Khan, the teenaged Afghan leg spinner who has caught the imagination of the cricket world with subtle variations. He has taken seven wickets to be tied with Delhi Daredevils’ Chris Morris, Andrew Tye of Gujarat Lions and MI’s Mitch McClenaghan. Rising Pune Supergiant’s South African leg spinner, Imran Tahir, too had seven ahead of Sunday’s clash with Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Bhuvneshwar was the stand out player for SRH in the last two games, though they lost to Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders.
After claiming 3/20 against KKR at Eden Gardens in the 15-run loss, Nehra hailed Bhuvneshwar as one of the best slog-over bowlers in India. He took 3/21 against MI in the previous game.
“Earlier people used to think he’s only a new ball bowler. Between him and Jasprit Bumrah, the two who only play ODIs, Bhuvi has been one of the best death bowlers. He will definitely improve from here onwards. He’s a very hardworking guy,” Nehra said.
Last year, Bangladesh paceman, Mustafiqur Rahman’s 17 wickets proved vital, but he has played one match so far this season after arriving late due to fitness issues.
Bhuvneshwar had to endure some frustration in the home season as he got to play only three of the 13 Tests, with Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma sharing most of the workload with spin the dominating factor.