Pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has revealed how India planned and executed their bowling strategy against Pakistan in their Asia Cup 2022 opener in Dubai on Sunday (August 28).
Bhuvneshwar played a vital role in India’s five-wicket win over Pakistan. He returned with a four-wicket haul that included the prized scalp of Babar Azam.
The 32-year-old surprised the Pakistan skipper with a bouncer in his second over as he went for the pull only to top edge to Arshdeep Singh at short fine leg.
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“It is important for a player to be proactive be it while batting or bowling because T20 is such a fast format, to assume things,” Bhuvneshwar said at the post-match press conference.
“Wicket didn’t support swing and bounce was more, so we plan and we know what the batters’ strength and when we bowl a couple of balls more we get a better idea. I believe, thinking about the game is as important a factor as skills,” he added.
The Indian team kept rattling the Pakistan batters with the short ball, eventually bundling them out for 147. All 10 wickets fell to the pacers.
Bhuvneshwar felt Babar’s wicket disrupted Pakistan’s plan as the team relies on him to anchor the innings.
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“Once Babar was dismissed, we did not think that half of the Pakistan team has been dismissed. He is a good player but technically there were nine other batters still left. As a team, we do not think that if the best batter is out, then half of the team is dismissed. But yes, once he was out, we knew their plans will be disturbed as the batter who plays the role of the anchor was gone,” Bhuvneshwar said.
After struggling with injury, Bhuvneshwar has found his rhythm. Talking about his own bowling, he said he hasn’t changed anything.
“It’s the same practice. Everyone has a bad game now and then and that was it but I haven’t changed anything. Sometimes you need the luck to go your way.”
Bhuvneshwar was delighted by the bowling performance on Sunday. “I am very happy with the performance, not just with the wickets. Yes, when you get wickets, you feel happy to contribute but sometimes bowling economically is also a contribution to the team’s cause. The way the others bowled as well, I think it was a complete team performance.”
Pandya’s role in World Cup
Hardik Pandya dazzled with the ball before taking India across the line with a six. Bhuvneshwar feels it augers well for the team that the all-rounder is in such good form.
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“Definitely (he will be a key player in World Cup), the way he is batting and bowling in the last few series, he’s in good form and if he continues this it will be good for us in the World Cup.”
India had suffered an embarrassing 10-wicket defeat to Pakistan in the T20 World Cup at the same venue last year.
“We had forgotten about the match against Pakistan that we lost last year. Honestly, as a cricketer we do not think about the result, I know people can have their expectations. We lose against other teams as well, but we do not talk about them that match as compared to when we lose against Pakistan. We just leave everything behind and keep moving ahead,” he said.