Bhuvneshwar Kumar: Swinging towards success

After an injury in Australia (in the tour of 2014-15) and a mediocre show against the South Africans at home last year, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has bounced back to form, picking the most number of wickets (23) after the second Qualifier in the ongoing IPL.

Sportzpics-BCCI

His prodigious swing and wily change of pace make Bhuvneshwar Kumar a bowler to guard against.

His pastime continues to be video games. He can keep to himself for hours, squeezing in some time to study himself and his opponents. For Bhuvneshwar Kumar, cricket is a process that involves constant monitoring and improvement.

Speed is not his forte. Swing certainly is. His wily change of pace makes Bhuvneshwar a bowler to guard against. A stoic countenance hides his disappointment when clubbed for a boundary off a decent ball. But, within, he burns. His calm exterior hides the inner turmoil, helping him perform well with the ball and occasionally with the bat.

He has played all the matches (16) for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) this season in the Indian Premier League (IPL). His supreme fitness is very apparent. But it was not so always.

“I went to Australia (2014-15) and got injured immediately. There was that phase where I had to recover and make a comeback from there. After an injury, albeit unknowingly, some things change when you're bowling in the nets. That happened with me but I didn't realise it,” said the 26-year-old seamer from Uttar Pradesh.

Bhuvneshwar, then, admitted to a fault in his technique. “In the South Africa series, my pace increased but swing reduced. There were a few reasons for that – conditions and a fault in technique. Then I worked on my technique, spoke to my coach (Sanjay Rastogi) in Meerut, and kept practising. The conditions didn't suit swing. I am a swing bowler but I would also need the conditions and the wickets to support my skill. After that I realised I was at fault because I was moving away from the basics.”

Rastogi endorsed his pupil’s words. “He had an ankle injury in Australia and took time to regain his rhythm. He had lost a bit of swing because he was working to bowl quicker. His ball-releasing point was not perfect and we worked by watching his old videos. As always he bowled to a single stump and looked the original Bhuvi before he went for the IPL matches.”

With 23 wickets against his name, Bhuvneshwar has emerged the best bowler of the league. Ahead of the final, in a tournament dominated by the batsmen, he has stood out with his craft that is different and very effective. The mighty Royal Challengers Bangalore batsmen need to watch out for the resurgent Bhuvneshwar Kumar.