Bharat Arun clarifies that injury issues stopped Bhuvneshwar Kumar from touring England in 2018 and 2021
Bharat Arun agreed that Kumar could have made a difference, especially in the 2018 series in which India lost 1-4.
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In the past few years, the Indian team has been experiencing a rise in the fast-bowling stocks, especially in Test cricket. With the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, and now Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur, India has found a core group of bowlers who are without doubt world-class.
However, when these pacers were coming together, there was another fast-bowler, who has since become a white-ball specialist, Bhuvneshwar Kumar. In 2014, when he went for the Test tour to England, he had a lot of success scoring 247 runs and taking 19 wickets in five Tests. His bowling style meant he was tailor-made for English conditions. However, he wasn’t picked in the 2018 and 2021 tours to England.
Bharat Arun, the outgoing bowling coach of the Indian men’s cricket team, expressed that it was his injury that stopped his selection. Interestingly, Bhuvneshwar’s last red-ball match was the 2018 Johannesburg Test which was played in January. He missed the 2018 England tour due to an injury and by the time 2021 came, there was another injury from which he had not fully recovered.
If Bhuvneshwar was fit, it could have made a big difference: Bharat Arun
In an interaction with Cricbuzz, Arun was asked, “missing Bhuvneshwar Kumar over two away series in England? Was it just unfortunate or could something have been done differently?” To this, the ex-bowling coach replied, “Unfortunately, Bhuvi was not fit for the tour in 2018. The way he was bowling then, if he was fit, it could have made a big difference.”
The right-arm pacer has not played a red-ball match in a long long time. For now, it is unlikely that he will resume playing the longer format. India have used him through a host of injuries, by allowing him to appear in only white-ball cricket. This has made him available for sizably more international cricket.
Several pacers in the past decade have limited themselves to only white-ball cricket to extend their careers, similar to what Bhuvneshwar seems to be doing. However, after being excluded from the England tour this year, the Uttar Pradesh pacer had clarified his own stance on the matter, saying that he wants to play in the longer format, but it is his injury which doesn’t allow him.