‘If Bhuvneshwar is listening to this, my only request is…’: Sreesanth makes massive T20 World Cup claim on India pacer

Updated on Sep 27, 2022 01:46 PM IST

Former India fast bowler Sreesanth, in an exclusive chat with hindustantimes.com, made a huge claim on India's star pacer for the T20 World Cup.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar(ANI)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar(ANI)
By, New Delhi

Team India’s preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup are on a full throttle; the side recently defeated Australia 2-1 in a three-match T20I series, making a strong comeback after facing a four-wicket defeat in the first match. It was a statement of intent from Rohit Sharma and his men but the team management does have a cause of worry even as the side lifted the trophy on Sunday; Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s poor form. Ever since the 2022 Asia Cup, the senior Indian pacer showed signs of struggles – particularly in the death overs – that played a detrimental role in India’s early ouster from the competition. The team was knocked out in the Super 4 after losing its first two games of the stage against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Since the start of Super 4, Team India has played six matches (one each against Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan, and 3 against Australia). Barring the game against Afghanistan where Bhuvneshwar produced an incredible outing (5/4 in four overs), it has been a worrisome outing for the fast bowler. Bhuvneshwar bowled the 19th over on three different occasions throughout this time (against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and in 1st T20I against Australia); he conceded 19, 14, and 16 runs respectively, all in run-chases. In the final T20I against the Aussies, the 32-year-old Indian pacer gave away 21 runs in the 18th over of the match as the visitors batted first in Hyderabad.

Amid his rough patch, speculations have begun over his place in the side as senior pacer Jasprit Bumrah returned to the squad in the Australia series, and Arshdeep already in the World Cup squad. Due to a rain-shortened game in the second T20I, Bhuvneshwar did give way for Pant but the team management backed the senior pacer to come strong in the final match of the series. And it seems the bowler is finding more support from the cricketing fraternity, as former India pacer Sreesanth believes Bhuvneshwar will be key for India in the T20 World Cup in Australia.

“He has done up good batsmen. Even if you bowl good balls, there are 60-70% chances of being hit. Sometimes, it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. We have to support Bhuvneshwar Kumar, just like (we have to support) Dinesh Karthik when it comes to batting. I’m very confident about his experience and ability to swing the ball; he has a back-of-the-length slower ball, he has got the knuckle ball. If he varies his pace on the hard bouncy wickets, he will get good help on Australian pitches,” Sreesanth told hindustantimes.com on the sidelines of the Delhi leg of ‘Legends League Cricket’.

The twin-World Cup winner also had a crucial advice for Bhuvneshwar.

“If Bhuvneshwar Kumar is listening to this – most often they don’t do it – but my only request is to never ever stop believing in your abilities. Sometimes, you really stop believing in your abilities. Sometimes, you get confused. Sometimes, you read a lot, and watch a lot of videos. Sometimes, you listen to a lot of opinions on the commentary. Even I have done that; everyone goes through that phase. But you got to believe in the immense ability that has got you here and made you the king. You got to believe in the higher power and trust your work ethics,” said Sreesanth.

The former India pacer also lauded Bhuvneshwar on his “superb” work ethics, citing examples of the star bowler’s routines throughout the limited-overs domestic season last year. “Bhuvneshwar’s work ethics are superb. When he was at the Vijay Hazare, he was at the gym, he was at the pool. He wanted to do more and more. It’s great to see that even now, he works hard. See, everyone is talking about the 19th over, but I’m telling you, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is going to do extremely well in Australia,” said Sreesanth with conviction.

Bhuvneshwar has been rested for the three-match T20I series against South Africa that begins on Tuesday, with Arshdeep Singh returning to the squad. This will be India’s final series before the T20 World Cup, that opens on October 22 (tournament proper). India will begin their campaign a day later against arch-rivals Pakistan.

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