Hyderabad,Taus Rizvi: India and Sunrisers Hyderabad seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has picked up 13 wickets in nine games so far. The Meerut native tells Taus Rizvi that he is enjoying bowling at the death
Bhuvneshwar Kumar says that if Dale Steyn tries to keep calm while bowling, he wouldn’t be successful sportzpics
You are among the top five wicket-takers in the IPL so far…
It has been a good tournament for me. But if you look at the team (Sunrisers Hyderabad), we are in fifth or sixth position. We need to click quickly as a unit. As far as I am concerned, I have been bowling really well, especially after recovering from an injury. I am pretty happy with my form.
You missed the Australia series with an ankle injury. You recovered in time for the World Cup, but played just one game (against the UAE) in the tournament. How frustrating was it to sit out?
Sometimes it becomes really frustrating because you don’t do anything on the field. I got injured before the World Cup. I had to get back to top fitness before the IPL so I had to work a lot with the trainers and the physios. They looked after me for a long time. I utilised the time by going to the gym and pool. That’s when I felt frustrated. You can’t do much but at the same time, but you still have to recover from the injury. It wasn’t that bad, though, as I learnt a lot from it.
What did you do in Australia?
When you practise, you always look to improve. I knew that I wasn’t going to play, so when I went into the nets, I worked on something or the other. Whether bowling with the new ball or bowling at the death, I worked on the all the areas. Whenever I go to the nets, I do things I have to work on. You can say that my good bowling at the death could be the result of that.
Talking about death bowling, you have been impressive in the IPL. Apart from that you have been bowling a lot of yorkers with the old ball…
Duncan Fletcher always says that if you want to learn something, then keep doing that, keep repeating and that is what your body will adapt to. I did that and bowled lots of yorkers. In the nets, I continuously bowled at least 15-20 yorkers. Now my body has adapted to it and you can see the result. It is a tactical move on how to tackle the batsman when he moves around the crease. I am happy with the way I have been bowling the death. If you are giving away eight an over at the death, it is not bad. Whatever I have bowled so far — slower ones or yorkers — I have been using a lot of variations.
You and your idol, Praveen Kumar, are hunting in a pair for Sunrisers Hyderabad…
It has been going great so far with PK. He is my idol and I learn a lot from him. We are from the same place and I wanted to play with him at the higher level which I did through the IPL. Learning during practice is different from learning in a match where I pick up the points. That’s what is happening in the IPL. If he helps me with a word or two, it is more than enough for me.
Swing has been your strength. Do you intend add more pace to your bowling?
I don’t think I have to do something with my pace. After all, 135 kph is not bad. Pace is not really my concern. I will be concerned only if my pace goes down to 130 but not now. If I am bowling at 135, it is more than enough for me.
Unlike other fast bowlers who wear their hearts on their sleeves, you are soft in nature…
It depends on an individual. That’s my nature. If you are aggressive, the emotions will come out. If someone is not (emotional), then it won’t. My emotions come out in the match as well but I don’t display it. It doesn’t mean I have to be aggressive. That is my nature. I never try to change it. I am more calm, and never try to be aggressive no matter what. If somebody loves to bowl aggressively, it’s because it helps them perform better. If you look at Dale Steyn, he is aggressive on the field. If you ask him to be calm and quite and bowl, I don’t think he will be able to perform in similar manner.
You have completed two years in international cricket…
I am happy with the way things have shaped up. There have been ups and downs. It is a part of life.
Have you set any goals?
If you talk about goals, I don’t have any goals like how many wickets I want to take or how many matches I want to play. I have to just keep on improving after every game, series, and play as long as possible for India.
You struggled with the ankle injury for a couple of months. How important is fitness for a fast bowler?
Fitness is most important. However, it doesn’t give you surety that if you are fit you won’t get injured. Injury is something like if it is supposed to happen, it will happen and you cannot do anything about it. It’s about learning to recover from it. Fitness is just not restricted to fast bowling but every aspect of the game. It is the most important part of cricket.
With series against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka coming up, will you set yourself any target?
Like I said, I don’t set goals for wickets or series. Whatever I have achieved I have never thought of that. Rather I plan. Like if we are playing overseas, I practise according to the conditions. Similarly, if we play in the subcontinent, I plan it that way. I always plan on how I have to bowl, but I don’t set targets.
We talk about how difficult is it for batsman to switch from one format to another. Does it apply to the bowler too?
The policy is similar. To adapt quickly from Tests to 50-over to T20 cricket is challenging. In Tests, we have to get the batsman out caught behind. In T20s, you have to do the same in the first over and then try to bowl back of length so that they don’t hit you. There is also difference in the red and white ball. Red ball does a lot. In T20 skills come into play in the death.