New Delhi: Bhuvneshwar Kumar is expected to be an integral part of the Indian attack when Virat Kohli and his boys land in England for the 2019 World Cup.
But the 29-year-old has not been able to deliver as consistently as he would have liked for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in this edition of the Indian Premier League.
The premier bowler has just taken nine wickets in the 13 matches he has played so far. He has also been taken for plenty of runs in many of the matches with his economy rate hovering around eight this season.
However, former India fast bowler Madan Lal believes the pacer is performing reasonably well and exuded confidence that Bhuvneshwar will deliver for India at the showpiece event.
“He is performing OK in the ongoing IPL. He is one of our premier fast bowlers. He has a lot of experience and has performed in the past as well for the team. World Cup is a different game all together and I am pretty sure he will perform for the team in England,” Lal said.
Bhuvneshwar had announced himself at the world stage in 2012 with a fantastic debut against Pakistan in a T20I where he returned with figures of 3/9. The highlight of his performance on that day was a terrific inswinger he had bowled to Nasir Jamshed which saw the stumps flying.
The right-arm medium pacer since then had been an integral part of the Indian set-up. Despite not having express pace, Bhuvi kept on taking wickets with his lethal inswinging deliveries, which all batsmen, especially right-handers, found difficult to deal with.
Bhuvneshwar was expected to start in all matches for the 2015 World Cup but could not due to poor fitness. He played in only one match against UAE. And 12 months ago, it was all but certain that he would be leading the Indian bowling attack at the World Cup in England. However, at present it doesn’t seem to be going that way.
Bhuvneshwar, who suffered from a back injury that was hampering him during last year’s IPL, has not been able to swing the ball the way he used to earlier.
He had to miss the nine Test matches played in England and Australia, where he was all but certain to be a part of the playing XI. But, the team’s silly decision to play him in the T20 series against England aggravated his back injury, as a result of which he missed the all-important Test series against England where Kohli and boys were thrashed 4-1.
Ever since his return after the injury, the bowler has not been up to the mark. In the four international matches he has played so far in 2019, Bhuvneshwar has just taken two wickets.
Also, the fact that Mohammad Shami has made a fantastic comeback to the limited-overs set-up has not helped Bhuvi. Shami seems to have overtaken him as India’s second-choice seamer.
Whether Bhuvi will be able to perform or not in the World Cup, only time will tell. However, his recent form must be a headache for Kohli who would be desperate to win the coveted trophy in his first stint as a leader.