Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s fitness issues remains under a dark cloud as Mumbai-born Dhawal Kulkarni has been asked to stay behind as cover. Citing an injury problem to Bhuvneshwar, the 25-year did not feature in the Afghanistan warm-up game and remains a worry ahead of the clash against Pakistan.
If reports are to go by, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been dealing with injuries ever since the Aussie tour began and had niggle while bowling against the Aussies during their first warm-up match. He landed badly while bowling his fifth over and has been refrained from bowling since then.
Bhuvneshwar has been MS Dhoni’s ‘go-to-man’ at overseas tours especially with the former possessing special ability to swing the ball late. Though Bhuvneshwar has not been ruled out of the tournament completely, his teammate Ishant Sharma was sent back home and was replaced by Mohit Sharma. The ICC rules allow players outside the 15-member squad to enter the dressing room and hence Kulkarni will be in the BCCI box during the World Cup matches.
With 44 ODIs at his helm, Meerut-born Kumar is the most experienced bowler in the seam attack with Ishant playing no part in the mega tourney. And with most of his prime bowlers going under the treatment table, no wonder MS Dhoni is unsure of his bowling combination. “We’ll have to wait and watch, depending on conditions and the kind of wickets offered. I wanted Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin to bowl their 10 overs, but I just wanted to use five bowlers in this game, and I needed Suresh Raina,” Dhoni said when asked about the combination of bowlers to be used at the World Cup.
Here’s why Dhoni rates Bhuvneshwar Kumar so highly in his bowling line-up! At the final Test match in Sydney, he conceded 122 runs in 34 overs without a wicket in the first innings and had improved a little in the second with one for 46 in eight overs. The 26-year-old had missed the first three Tests due to injury. With an economy rate of 4.62 per over, Bhuvneshwar remains a key participant for Dhoni’s playing eleven. Known to give minimal runs and a good swinger of the ball, Bhuvneshwar will be an asset on Aussie and Kiwi pitches where conditions will be good for bowling.
But with the current scheme of things, it appears that ‘Bhuvi’ is not fit to lead against Pakistan and in such a scenario why the Indian management is not sending back the 25-year old and drafting in Dhawal remains a mystery!