He is one of the two bowlers from India and the only pacer to have picked five-wicket hauls across the three formats. However, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s appearance for the national team has become less in recent times and after missing the Test series against the West Indies, he has not been picked for the upcoming Test series versus South Africa either.
Bhuvneshwar was not in the squad for the T20I series that ended 1-1 and although star pacer Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the Test series with a stress fracture, the selectors picked Umesh Yadav and not Bhuvneshwar as the replacement. Bhuvneshwar’s injuries have kept him on the sidelines for some time but his regular absence from the long format suggests that he is now being seen mainly as a limited-overs choice.
Bhuvneshwar last played in a Test match in 2018 in South Africa and in that three-match series, the pacer played two games and picked 10 wickets. He has 63 wickets from 21 Tests, 132 scalps from 114 ODI matches and 39 wickets from 40 T20I outings.
Vats backs management’s decision on Bhuvneshwar
Bhuvneshwar’s coach Vipin Vats is not disappointed with the move of playing him irregularly. Speaking with India TV in an exclusive interview, Vats said the team management knew how to use the 29-year-old bowler. “There are new boys coming up in the Indian team. The team management knows Bhuvi’s limitations, and realize when and how to play him,” Vats was quoted as saying.
He felt Bhuvneshwar’s absence is part of his workload management. “I’ve been coaching Bhuvi since he was a two-year-old kid. I always tell him, as a bowler, one cannot possibly be consistently performing at the same level throughout his career. You cannot bowl with the same intensity as a 24-year-old when you’re 28,” he said, adding that proper workload management is key for a bowler to stay fit as he grows old.
Vats also recollected the time last year when Bhuvneshwar developed a back condition during the tour of England and thought the situation at the moment is the same.
“When Bhuvi suffered from back pain in England, I talked to him for one hour. He wasn’t able to generate swing, and I advised him on how to manage things then. The current situation is quite similar. The team management has done the right thing to lessen Bhuvi’s workload if they consider him as an important member of the side for the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup,” Vats said.
Bhuvneshwar started as the second-choice bowler in the ICC World Cup this year but sustained an injury during the Pakistan game to sit out for a few matches. The bowler will turn 30 next February.
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