Bhuvneshwar and Shami are the pick

The victorious Pakistan team.-Pics. S. SUBRAMANIUM

India redeemed some pride in the friendship ODI series, which Pakistan won 2-1. By Y. B. Sarangi.

“Who are the replacements?” This was the question raised by everyone after the pedestrian Indian attack against England in the Test series. The 1-2 series loss to the visitor, after 28 years, triggered an intense search and the replacements were not far away, at least in the department of pace bowling.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, a talented swing bowler, who has been silently shouldering a good part of Uttar Pradesh’s workload for the last few years, made an impact with his bowling in the Twenty20 series against Pakistan. He also carried on that good work in the One-day series.

Bhuvnesh is a simple young man from a humble background. He has a nice run-up, a smooth action, and a fluent release of the ball.

The 22-year-old has got enough fire in his belly. As Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says, ‘Bhuvnesh needs to be tested in different conditions.’

Mohammad Shami celebrates after getting rid of Saeed Ajmal.-

Former India pace bowler and the current Uttar Pradesh coach Venkatesh Prasad observes: “Bhuvnesh is a very clever and smart bowler for his age. For the little international cricket he has played, he looks very mature and is able to understand the situation. He can read the batsman’s weaknesses and knows his limitations. He has a terrific seam position and keeps his bowling as simple as possible, bowling at 130-odd and moving the ball at will both ways.”

“Bhuvnesh is handy with the bat and a safe fielder. I will call him a complete package and would like to see him bowl more out-swingers. He is just brilliant,” added Prasad.

Experience and exposure will definitely polish this young bowler. He played an important role in India’s face-saving 10-run win over Pakistan in the third ODI at the Ferozeshah Kotla in Delhi. In the low-scoring match, where India set a target of 168, Bhuvnesh used the conditions well to provide two early breakthroughs and gave away just 31 runs in his quota of 10 overs. This performance will boost his confidence.

Another low-profile pacer is Mohammad Shami, who has been showing a lot of discipline and promise since making his first class debut in 2010. Many may feel that the 22-year-old Bengal speedster, with the experience of playing in just 15 first class matches, was fast-forwarded to the Indian team. But, sharing the new ball with Bhuvnesh at the Kotla, Shami showed why he was chosen to sport the India colours. He was unnerved at the big stage and stuck to his strength of hitting the right areas consistently to capture one wicket for 23 runs off his nine overs.

Bengal coach W. V. Raman, who has seen Shami from close quarters, says, “I knew a year ago that he would make it to the top. The most important attribute of his cricket is his attitude. He has made it count with his consistent performances. I am not surprised by the rapid strides he has made because he looked an immensely talented and hard working bowler from the time I have seen him. I see him playing for India for the next 4-5 years. The best thing about Shami’s bowling is his pace and the ability to deviate the ball off the pitch. He will be an asset to Indian cricket.”

The discipline showed by these two, perhaps inspired other bowlers as well. India redeemed some pride in the friendship series, which Pakistan won 2-1.

With some encouraging performance from our bowlers, we hope our batsmen are better prepared for the coming ODI series against England.


THIRD ODI – India v Pakistan, Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. India won by 10 runs.

India: G. Gambhir c U. Akmal b Irfan 15, A. M. Rahane c K. Akmal b Irfan 4, V. Kohli c Younis b Junaid 7, Yuvraj Singhb Hafeez 23, S. K. Raina lbw b Ajmal 31, M. S. Dhoni c U. Akmal b Gul 36, R. Ashwin lbw b Ajmal 0, R. A. Jadeja c U. Akmal b Ajmal 27, B. Kumar lbw b Ajmal 2, Ishant c & b Ajmal 5, M. Shami (not out) 0, Extras (lb-4, w-7, nb-1, pen-5) 17. Total (in 43.4 overs) 167.

Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-29, 3-37, 4-63, 5-111, 6-111, 7-131, 8-141, 9-160.

Pakistan bowling: M. Irfan 7-1-28-2, Junaid 9-1-17-1, Gul 8-1-45-1, M. Hafeez 10-0-44-1, S. Ajmal 9.4-1-24-5.

Pakistan: N. Jamshed lbw b Ashwin 34, K. Akmal lbw b Kumar 0, Younis b Kumar 6, Misbah-ul-Haq c Rahane b Ashwin 39, U. Akmal st Dhoni b Jadeja 25, S. Malik lbw b Ishant 5, M. Hafeez c Yuvraj b Ishant 21, Gul c Jadeja b Ishant 11, S. Ajmal c Dhoni b Shami 1, Junaid (run out) 0, M. Irfan (not out) 0, Extras (lb-1, w-13, nb-1) 15, Total: (in 48.5 overs) 157.

Fall of wickets: 1-3, 2-14, 3-61, 4-113, 5-119, 6-125, 7-144, 8-145, 9-145.

India bowling: B. Kumar 10-2-31-2, M. Shami 9-4-23-1, Ishant 9.5-0-36-3, R. Ashwin 10-1-47-2, R. A. Jadeja 10-2-19-1.