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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Batting form has helped in bowling: Bhuvneshwar Kumar | England vs India, 2nd Investec Test


RP Singh, Praveen Kumar and now Bhuvneshwar Kumar – the last three Indian bowlers to have their name carved on the Lord’s Honours Board. All three got their five-fors in their respective first Tests at the Lord’s. And all three hail from the same Indian state, Uttar Pradesh. A beautiful coincidence. (Also read:Stats Highlights: England vs India, 2nd Investec Test - Day 3)

Bhuvi has been the best bowler from both sides in eight days of Test cricket we have had between England and India. And that, despite being the slowest of the pacers from both teams. In conditions that are home to the tall, sturdy and intimidating English bowlers, the short, skinny and shy medium pacer has looked most at home. (Also read:
Report: England vs India, 2nd Investec Test - Day 3)

After playing a decisive role in getting England out for 319, with his bowling effort of 6 for 82, Bhuvi spoke to 
BCCI.TV about how his first experience of bowling in overseas Test matches, his rapport with MS Dhoni as captain and wicketkeeper and the impact of his brilliant batting form on his bowling.

Five-for at Lord’s! Did it play on your mind overnight when you had four wickets?
It must sound strange but very frankly, it wasn’t on my mind. We knew today would be a crucial one and we had a chat about getting them out quickly anyhow. Maybe it’s because I knew that if I get wickets for the team, I will get a five-for for myself as well. So, rather than concentrating on my fifth scalp, I was focused on the larger picture.

Keeping the Uttar Pradesh tradition of getting a five-for in first Test at Lord’s intact?

Luckily it has turned out like that. I am happy I was able to keep that little tradition going. It will be good to see my name up on the honours board with my two state mates, RP Singh and Praveen Kumar.

You said that you spoke to Praveen Kumar before coming to England. What did he tell you?
Bowling wise, I am very similar to him and he just told me, ‘you know what you have to do’. He was very helpful in terms of giving me information about the different grounds and their peculiarities. For instance, of Lord’s he told me about the slope. He said you’ll feel a bit awkward at times bowling there but be mentally prepared. Honestly, when you look at the ground, you can see the slope but once you start bowling, you don’t feel much difference. It’s not as peculiar as people have made it out to be.

How is your understanding with MS Dhoni in terms of planning the wickets?
MS has always been a bowler’s captain. Even in my debut match he told me, ‘set your own fields and make your own plans. If I feel the need to change anything, I will tell you’. Since then it has worked that way and he is very open to suggestions if I want something different from what he does. We discuss the plans and strategies and that has helped us build good understanding between us. So far my plan in this series has been to get the batsman out behind him. For that you have to bowl a tight line and length. At times MS also stands up to me. That’s for when the batsman is trying to get forward to cut the swing. If the keeper is standing up, in the fear of getting stumped, the batsman will not try to walk down the wicket to negate the swing. We have figured out when to use that ploy and against which batsmen. Sometimes, he moves back and forth in a single over. That is the kind of planning that I do with MS.

Before Nottingham, you had nine wickets from six Tests in India. You got a five-for at Trent Bridge despite the wicket being very Indian. What changed?
The conditions and the wicket at Trent Bridge were very similar to those in India. But the difference was that in India, because the ball starts to turn very early, the spinners do most of the bowling and my role is much different. I mostly bowl with the new ball while it is swinging and get some wickets upfront. Here I have bowled a lot of overs and have had a role to play throughout the day.

What is the difference between bowling with SG ball and Dukes ball?
There is a lot of difference. The conditions here make the Dukes ball very effective for the pacers. The shine remains for longer duration and you can swing it for a longer time. Later on, if you maintain it properly, you can also reverse it. SG, however, is very good for the Indian conditions. In India the ball wears very early because it is used a lot by the spinners. Here, even though it gets old, it doesn’t roughen up as much, which makes it more difficult to reverse.

Do you think the England pacers have managed to reverse swing the ball more than you guys?
I don’t think there has been much of a difference. Even though we have bowled well so far, they are more experienced when it comes to bowling in these conditions and with the Dukes ball. They have a better idea about how to maintain it for reverse. We too are trying and learning but as of now they have the edge in that regards.

Duncan Fletcher told me that Indian bowlers don’t think like batsmen because they don’t do much batting in domestic cricket. Has spending so much time batting in the middle helped you understand the batsman’s mindset more as a bowler?
That is a fact. If you think like a batsman, you have an upper-hand over the man you’re bowling to. All the runs that I have scored here have played a huge role in the way I have bowled. Having batted there for long hours, I know where the batsman will find it difficult to play the ball. I can anticipate what is going on in his mind and plan the next ball accordingly. The runs also give you confidence, which gets transformed into courage of conviction when you come on to bowl.

source: bcci,tv


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