Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s prowess as a quality seamer was never in doubt. It is only fitness concerns which have posed a few roadblocks along the way.
His troubles date back to 2018 when a back injury forced him to miss the Test series in England. He suffered a hamstring problem during the 2019 ICC ODI World Cup, before a thigh injury caused Bhuvneshwar to sit out of a large part of last year’s IPL and the entire Australia tour.
The Uttar Pradesh pacer made a strong comeback earlier this year in the white-ball leg of England’s visit to India. On flat tracks, Bhuvneshwar showed great control to finish with economy rates of 4.65 and 6.38 in the ODI and T20I series respectively. This even led skipper Virat Kohli to state that Bhuvneshwar deserved to win the ODI Man of the Series Award.
Despite the good returns and high praise, Bhuvneshwar did not find a spot in the Indian squad which travelled to seamer-friendly England for the World Test Championship final and five-Test series.
Instead, he was named vice-captain for the limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka. The 31-year-old is happy to be involved in international cricket, even if he is part of a unit shorn of big stars like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
“I don’t think you can classify either team — the one in England, or the one in Sri Lanka — as the main team. They are both Indian teams,” Bhuvneshwar said in a media interaction on Friday.
On his injury concerns, he said: “Injuries happen; everyone has ups and downs. I’ve worked on how to get over injuries quickly. There are a few other things, like workload — how to recover quickly after playing a match. The physios and trainers give me some advise. Apart from that, my training and approach has remained the same.”
Bhuvneshwar is keen to work closely with former India captain Rahul Dravid, who dons the role of coach for this tour.
“He (Dravid) tries to keep things really simple. When things are simple, you can enjoy everything,” he said.