Dubai: In Twenty20 cricket, even one over could change the game, especially if it is in the slog overs. One of the biggest offenders in Indian cricket of late is Bhuvneshwar Kumar. His three overs have been expensive on three occasions and it almost cost India another game.
Bowling the penultimate over, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gave away 19 runs against Pakistan and 14 against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup Super 4 clashes in Dubai. He conceded 16 in the 19th over after a costly 17th in the first of the three Twenty20 matches against world champions Australia.
The veteran pacer with 79 matches and 85 wickets under his belt used to be known for death bowling skills, but he now delivers numerous wides in the crucial final over. That’s glaring since India lost all three matches with only a few balls to spare.
Stability to death bowling
The return of Jasprit Bumrah has brought some stability to the death bowling. Harshal Patel, who has also returned from injury, and Bhuvneshwar adopt identical strategies, relying on variations more than pace. Now the batters are ready to use the lack of pace to clobber them.
The return of Bumrah and Arshdeep Singh will add depth, but one genuine pacer like Mohammed Shami, who is still Covid positive, should have replaced Bhuvneshwar or Harshal in the squad announced for the World Cup.
The big plus is Axar Patel replacing Ravindra Jadeja. The all-rounder has grabbed the chance and has been a real threat in the powerplay. But captain Rohit Sharma and the Indian management should review the strategy of using Bhuvneshwar in the slog. The wily pacer has been lethal with the new ball, swinging it in the air and off the pitch, and that will be an asset on Australian pitches. Ideally, Bhuvneshwar must be allowed to finish his quota of four overs before the 15-over mark.
Another bowling worry ahead of the World Cup is the poor form of ace leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, who could produce his magic only in the final game against Australia.
There are more games before the World Cup, including the first Twenty20 against South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram, but bowling still looks thin.