Jasprit Bumrah’s absence no doubt is a huge loss but that never meant that the current bowling unit would deviate from its individual plans to over-compensate for the premier bowler’s absence, senior India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said.
While Bumrah was ruled out of the T20 World Cup due to a back stress fracture, Bhuvneshwar himself had endured a tough time during Asia Cup and the subsequent bilateral series as his performance in death overs came under scanner.
However, the Meerut man has been in excellent rhythm overall and it was his first spell of incisive swing bowling that created pressure on Pakistan, helping young Arshdeep Singh get wickets of Mohammed Rizwan and Babar Azam.
So did the bowling unit do anything extra to compensate for Bumrah’s absence?
“The kind of bowler Bumrah is, certainly its a big loss for the team. It’s not as if we would have to do something extra that Bumrah isn’t around,” Bhuvneshwar told reporters in mixed zone after another tight show against the Netherlands.
“Even if Bumrah would have been around, we couldn’t have done those extra things. We are doing exactly what our strengths are.”
When asked if the criticism about his Asia Cup death bowling had hurt him having done admirably well for India for a decade, Bhuvneshwar did give an impression that he wasn’t amused.
“Itni saalon mein ek baar ho gayi cheezein kharab. So ho gayi. Baat khatm. (In all these years, I have had this one off tournament. It’s happened. It’s done and dusted).
“Media and commentators can say a lot of things (about death bowling), but as a team we knew that we will have our share of ups and downs.
“T20 is a format where it could be tough for bowlers and even for batters if the track is difficult one. But since Asia Cup is a big event people do tend to assess you that much more.” Bhuvneshwar said he keeps away from social media during big events.
“During World Cup, I keep myself completely off from social media and have no idea what all is written about. Because it’s the social media from which you come to know all these things.” In the tournament opener against Pakistan, Bhuvneshwar literally tormented Rizwan with his swing and he said he never expected so much swing in Australia.
“I never expected that my deliveries would swing so much. Whether me or Arshdeep who got two wickets, me and Arshdeep complimented each other. So you can say I was happy,” the senior bowler said.
Talk about Arshdeep and his face lights up.
“He has been amazing since his debut. He was always asking about what kind of track will there be on offer and what kind of shots the batters will play on this track. He asks me and also Rohit and Virat. Considering his first T20 WC, he is doing really well.”
Bhuvneshwar also confirmed that there are no assigned death bowlers.
“There are no assigned death bowler as such. You can’t plan like that in cricket, where even before a tourney starts, you know who your death bowlers are.
“A lot of things are instinctive and captain takes a call on how he assesses the situation at that very moment.”
Preparation in Perth was very important
The Indian team had a seven day camp in Perth and that’s why while playing South Africa on Saturday, it could work to team’s advantage.
“The first phase of preparation when we touched down here in Perth was the most crucial one. The strategy changes with each team as batters change. We discussed and trained on execution of plans.
“If you lose a match first up in a tournament and that too against a tough team like Pakistan, it would have been difficult to make a comeback.”
The trend in such events is that batters go hell for leather in the back 10, he said.
“You might feel as bowling unit we conceded 15 to 20 more (34 in last 3 overs) but that has been a pattern of all teams in this World Cup,” Bhuvneshwar said.
“If you see most matches, teams haven’t scored much in first 10 but once the ball becomes a touch older, set batters start making runs.”