March 3, 2021

Is inswinger Bhuvneshwar Kumar the answer to India’s bowling woes?

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed have made impressive starts to their careers.

In particular, the former’s ability to swing the ball both ways in Indian conditions has earned him respect. It has, indeed, been a treat for the fans to watch him breach the defence of the batsmen with his lethal in-swingers.


Shami, too, looks an exciting prospect, and both have certainly opened up choices for India in the pace bowling department.

Bhuvneshwar has reminded many of Debasis Mohanty, another practitioner of the art of swing bowling, who made an equally sensational debut against Pakistan in Toronto in 1997.

Mohanty did not play for India for long, but since then, not many have appeared with the ability to move the ball in Indian conditions. Sreesanth and Praveen Kumar shone brightly for a while, but their inconsistency and injuries, respectively, interrupted their run in international cricket.

Mohanty pointed out the importance of swing bowlers in the game. “I have always felt that batsmen are more vulnerable to swing than pace. It is a natural quality and if a bowler can swing the ball in Indian conditions, he can do it anywhere in the world,” the former pacer and present coach of Odisha told Mail Today.

“Bhuvneshwar’s strength is definitely to swing the ball both ways while Shami is someone who can bend his back and has more pace. With experience, they can have a longer haul. It is good to have more pacers in the mix.”

Bhuvneshwar’s debut couldn’t have been better timed. He made the most of the wintry conditions across the country. But like Mohanty, he too could be marked as someone who could be drafted into the Test side if conditions aid swing. Skipper MS Dhoni pointed it out in his post match press conference on Sunday.

“The shorter format will give them exposure and they will learn how to do things in different way. Bhuvi is very talented and he can swing the ball, but once it’s about selecting him, may be you have to see how the wicket is. He may come really good while playing abroad, because there is swing for the fast bowlers. On subcontinent wickets, where you have to rely a lot on reverse swing bowling, he will have to alter his bowling,” Dhoni said when asked whether the two youngsters are ready for the longer version.

“Shami is quick so he can be effective when it comes to reverse swing. But he also needs to improve but good thing is he can bowl quick.”

Mohanty, who took 57 wickets in 45 ODIs, added: “Bhuvneshwar has bowled with a lot of confidence so far and needs to back his strength. There will be times when the conditions will favour a swing bowler, and you need to know your stock ball. He has played a lot in domestic cricket and it is really hard work for bowlers there. A good bowler can bowl well on any wicket,” he said.