Bhuvneshwar Kumar says his gameplan worked vs Australia at Eden Gardens
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Bhuvneshwar Kumar says his gameplan worked vs Australia at Eden Gardens

Bhuvneshwar Kumar said wickets in the middle overs helped India defeat Australia in the second ODI at Eden Gardens.

india vs australia 2017 Updated: Sep 22, 2017 11:14 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
India vs Australia,Kuldeep Yadav,Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar of India celebrates the wicket of Hilton Cartwright of Australia during the 2nd One Day International between India and Australia at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday. (BCCI)

It was wickets in the middle overs that did the trick for Indian cricket team and helped them take a 2-0 lead in this five-match series of One-day Internationals against Australia cricket team, said Bhuvneshwar Kumar at Eden Gardens following Thursday’s 50-run win. (IND vs AUS Kolkata ODI Highlights)

“In today’s cricket, 252 is not a big total to defend and we knew we had to keep taking wickets if we had to win. It wasn’t like there was a lot of disappointment when we finished on 252 but the captain and the management felt that we needed to believe in each other.

“In the beginning and in the death overs, bowlers get opportunities but it is taking wickets in the middle overs that makes the difference,” said Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (IND vs AUS Kolkata ODI Scorecard)

India dismissed Glenn Maxwell in the 23rd over, got Steve Smith in the 30th and then Kuldeep Yadav dealt the killer blow with his hat-trick in the 33rd. So in 10 overs, India had taken five wickets and that, according to Bhuvneshwar, proved decisive.

About his own bowling --- 6.1-2-9-3 --- Bhuvneshwar Kumar said he realised after bowling the first ball that he would get swing.

“To Warner, my plan was to bowl outswingers because I generally do that to him. To (Hilton) Cartwright, the idea was to bowl at the top of the stumps,” he said.

“The IPL has ensured that there are no secrets anymore. Just as I know where to bowl to Warner, he too knows what my strengths and weaknesses are (they are teammates at Sunrisers Hyderabad). So, it is all about execution; whoever executes better wins the day. Today, I did it. Maybe he will tomorrow.”

Bhuvneshwar referred to that again while trying to explain why the Australians are struggling against India’s spin bowlers. “It is not that they can’t play spin. But maybe our bowlers are bowling better and making it difficult for them to pick,” he said.

From his first ODI nearly five years ago, Bhuvneshwar has come a long way. “At the start of my career, I relied on the conditions. Slowly, as you play more international cricket, you know the areas where you must improve. I knew I had to increase my pace but had no clue how. So, I did what people told me and that is train and improve fitness.

“Then, our new trainer came up with a different module and, knowingly or unknowingly, my pace increased. Then, I didn’t try too many things beyond focusing on my swing. As my pace improved, so did my bowling at the death. Playing the IPL too helped,” said the man who is India’s pace spearhead.

Add to that increased focus on diet and fitness, which is part of the culture now in the team, said Bhuvneshwar and you have the transformation of the man from Meerut to something more than just a swing bowler.

First Published: Sep 22, 2017 08:43 IST