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5 reasons why Bhuvneshwar Kumar should be in India’s playing XI for Champions Trophy

The pacer has been in a tremendous form recently and will come in handy in the helpful English conditions

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

Virat Kohli-led Indian side is set to defend the title in the Champions Trophy which will begin from June 1st. Cricket experts believe the team has the perfect blend of experience and youth and has the potential to go all the way. Kohli himself admitted to the fact that they have to be ruthless if they have to win against the teams which will compete in the tournament. Perhaps, India is entering this ICC event with fewer worries than ever as far as bowling department is concerned which has not been the case most of the times in the past.

Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar is a formidable fast bowling unit Team India possess and Hardik Pandya is another pace bowling option. Kohli and the team management have a tough task ahead to choose the pace bowling unit with Ashwin and Jadeja set to play in the XI. Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be the key bowler for India going into the tournament although Bumrah and Yadav might get the nod ahead of him.

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Here we take a look at the reasons why Bhuvneshwar Kumar should be included in the playing XI:

In-form bowler

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been in an excellent form with the ball in the long home season. Even in the recently concluded IPL, he was the highest wicket-taker and ruled the Purple Cap right through the tournament. Bhuvi picked up 26 wickets in the 14 matches and was extremely tough to get away with for the batsmen.

He has the momentum and confidence both with him as he had been tested in tough situations time and again in the recent past. He was also the key player for India in Tests though he didn’t get to play many. Bhuvneshwar would love to continue his rich vein of form in Champions Trophy as well.

Death Bowling

Over the years, as the game of cricket has changed especially in the shorter formats, death bowling has become one of the key aspects of the game. Bhuvneshwar has mastered the art of that as well and has been exemplary. He has been nailing his yorkers perfectly with pace and has troubled renowned batsmen.

He has also outthought the batsmen by not becoming predictable with his line and length and used the slower balls exceptionally well. The duo of Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar would make a deadly combination for the opposition in the death overs and their performance could well be the difference in the tournament.

Swinging Ability

Very few must have forgotten Bhuvi’s first ball in the International cricket when he knocked the stumps of Mohammad Hafeez with a beautiful in-swinging delivery. Moreover, he has improved his pace now and the swinging ball at 140 kph speed could be a nightmare for any batsman in the world.

His five-wicket haul against the Kiwis in Tests last year at the Eden Gardens in swinging conditions is an ideal example. Given the favorable conditions in England for swing bowling, Bhuvneshwar walks into the side on any given day.

Can bowl long spells

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has proved every now and then his ability to bowl long spells, may it be in Tests or ODIs. He had been used by MS Dhoni, the former Indian captain, in the past to bowl 10 overs on the trot in ODIs and he never disappointed.

If conditions are helpful, he could well be used to bowl 7-8 overs upfront or even at the death bowl 5-6 overs if the pitches are flat. His amazing stamina gives the captain a luxury to hold the other bowlers back.

Fitter than ever

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has overcome all his fitness issues during the home season and proved it during the IPL. He played all the matches for his franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad, bowled full quota of his overs in all of them. IPL is the tournament where you seldom get the rest and have to play back to back games.

Also, Bhuvneshwar has been consistently clicking around 140kph which is a significant improvement to where he started from after his debut. All these attributes prove that he is fit and raring to go in Champions Trophy.

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