Bhuvneshwar — the quiet operator

Every team usually has a quiet operator. Bhuvneshwar Kumar fits that role in the Indian cricket team.

Struggling with a spate of injuries for most of the last four years, Bhuvneshwar was on the verge of falling off the radar as younger pacers proved their mettle on the international stage.

Seizing his chance

Having regained fitness, Bhuvneshwar knew that, in Jasprit Bumrah’s absence, the limited-over leg against England was his chance to carry the team and ensure that his presence would be the focus rather than his absence.

Bhuvneshwar seems to have ticked all the boxes over the last three weeks. He was naturally rusty in the first couple of T20Is but once he got into his rhythm in Ahmedabad, he took it to the next level in the ODIs in Pune.

Bhuvneshwar’s performance of six wickets at 22.50 at an astounding economy rate of 4.65 was worthy of being adjudged Player-of-the-Series. While it didn’t happen, the bowler was satisfied with his outing.

More importantly, Bhuvneshwar appears to be hungry for success. His focus is not just on doing well in the Indian Premier League but keeping an eye on India’s Test series in England later this year.

“I am just happy that I went through the entire series pretty well,” he said after the third ODI on Sunday night. “Whatever preparation happens from my side will happen with red-ball cricket in mind. That’s different from what will happen in team selections, but my training and workload during the IPL will happen with Test cricket in mind. I want to play Test cricket going forward.”

But Bhuvneshwar isn’t thinking too far ahead, instead setting short-term goals for himself.

“I don’t decide on the long-term future. Whenever I have in the past, things haven’t gone my way, whether it’s due to injury or form,” he said.

Focus on fitness

“Workload management is something I will focus on and the team management also tries and does its best. I was unfit for a long time, so I realised that fitness is something I have to maintain if I want to play regular cricket.”

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