Michael Vaughan, former England skipper reckons Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s bowling is a lesson for England bowlers to learn and the India fast bowler is not someone against whom doing homework is enough.
India produced a run-fest, scoring 224/2 batting first against England in the fifth T20I on Saturday.
Half-centuries to openers Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma along with notable contributions from middle-order batsmen and finishers Suryakumar Yadav and Hardik Pandya formed the backbone of India’s batting and eventually their 36-run win in the decider. The performance of bowlers almost gets overshadowed. It was always tough to defend the sizeable total against the No. 1-ranked T20I team in the world that has a plethora of world-class batsmen.
India pacer Shardul Thakur picked up 3/45, including the wickets of Jonny Bairstow, Dawid Malan, and Chris Jordan. Once again, it was Shardul Thakur picking up two wickets in a single over of Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow that gave India the advantage of defending 225.
However, the one bowler who made life really difficult for England was Bhuvneshwar Kumar. With England chasing a stiff target and opener Jason Roy in tremendous form, Bhuvneshwar Kumar cleaned him up for a second-ball duck in the first over.
“The key was Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He’s a magnificent bowler and he’s the bowler England should be really studying,” Michael Vaughan said in a video on Cricbuzz.
“Bhuvneshwar you could argue was the difference between the two sides. To the bowl, his four overs – 2/15, an economy rate of under four, on a pitch that the ball was traveling into the stands was nothing short of remarkable. And he doesn’t bowl 90 miles or 80 miles, but gets close to the stumps and has all variations. I don’t think he bowls to the date. England has got to understand that if you bowl to the data, teams will know that data as well, ” Michael Vaughan said.
Bhubaneshwar Kumar was at the helm of India’s bowling performance in Saturday’s decider as he produced figures that are exceptional in the shortest T20I format. The veteran pacer claimed an early breakthrough for India while defending a stiff total of 224/2. In the very first over, he uprooted Jason Roy from the attack. He came back to dismiss dangerman Jos Buttler, who scored a 34-ball 52, in the 13th over and turned the game in India’s favour.
Michael Vaughan: Bhuvneshwar Kumar Is A Bowler The Batsmen Are Finding Difficult To Handle
Calling Bhuvneshwar Kumar an intelligent bowler, Michael Vaughan feels India quickly has all the elements to thrive in international cricket. The former England captain also believes the pacer has a sharp cricketing brain, which makes life difficult for any batsman to plan against him, with his variety and unpredictability.
“I look at someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar and I feel he just studies the batsmen, stares at the batsmen’s feet, and at the last moment, bowls the ball that is the hardest for the batsmen. That’s why he’s a wonderful bowler. He’s got the swing, the cutter the back of the hand delivery and he’s also got the mind… very clever. If there’s anything in the series I will tell England to copy, that is Bhuvneshwar’s bowling,” Michael Vaughan explained.
“You just look at his consistency across all the series. He’s obviously a bowler the batters are finding very, very difficult. He sets the tone in the first over. He gets a bit of movement and swing either way. As a batsman, you can’t line him up. He crams them with that ball that comes back. Jason Roy will tell you all about that ball. He’s got the skills, the mind, and the cricket brain when he’s bowling,” Michael Vaughan said.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has picked 45 scalps in 48 T20Is averaging 26.73 and at an economy rate of 6.98. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been rightly adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ for his performance for his figures of 2/15. The 31-year old, who last played for India in November 2019 was returning after two long injury gaps and immediately made his mark.
A sports hernia meant he didn’t play any international cricket in 2020 before the COVID-19 break, and he only played four games in the 2020 edition of the IPL as his tryst with injuries extended further. He picked 4 scalps in the 5 T20Is against England at an impressive economy rate of 6.39 averaging 28.75. In the five games, he bowled 18 overs in which he gave away just 115 runs at 6.39 and took four wickets.