India’s swing bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Monday said that former captain MS Dhoni was good enough to bat in whichever position the team wants him to, after the 37-year-old came under criticism for another slow innings with the bat.
Australia beat India by 34 runs in the first one-day international in Sydney on Saturday. The Australians made 288/5 after winning the toss and restricted India to 254/9.
Rohit Sharma blasted 133 off 129 balls in a brave effort to keep India in the contest, while Dhoni laboured to a 51-ball 96, hitting three fours and a six.
The innings reopened the debate as to where the 37-year-old should bat in the border. Asked where he thinks Dhoni should bat, Bhuvneshwar said, “It doesn’t matter where I want him to bat. It’s what the management wants that matters the most.
“But as far as he is concerned, he can bat anywhere from 1-10. He has been doing it for the last few years. He’s been doing it pretty well.”
Bhuvneshwar also said he is back to full fitness, which has resulted in his bowling speed being back in the 130s kph after dropping to the 120s kph during the England series last year.
“I was going through a niggle [during the England series], so you can’t be 100% during that period,” he said.
“I’ve trained a lot since then, especially during this one month during the Test series. That is the reason I am back to 130-135 kph. I’m niggle-free right now.”
Bhuvneshwar revealed that he “tried everything” to get his rhythm back during his off-time, including during the Australia Test series, where he did not play a single match.
“There wasn’t anything specific – just normal bowling, increasing the number of overs [gradually] from four to six to eight to 10 overs. The key thing for me was to be niggle-free and get back my rhythm,” he said.
India are down 0-1 in the three-ODI series but Bhuvneshwar was confident his team can bounce back. “We have been in this situation before also,” he said. “It’s not impossible to win the series, but it won’t be easy because we are playing away from home.
“So, yes, we are preparing in a manner that we have to win both the matches. It’s like a knockout for us the next match. We aren’t thinking anything different. We just want to win the match and everyone is positive about that.”
Bhuvneshwar also said it was only a matter of time before India’s famed top order failed in a match. Rohit’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan was out for a duck, while Kohli was dismissed for three.
“Nothing went wrong [in the last match],” Bhuvneshwar said. “It was one of those matches where the top order did not click and it can happen when you play so much cricket. It’s very rare for us.”
The bowling all-rounder is expecting the second ODI in Adelaide to be a high-scoring match. “Adelaide is more of a batting wicket so I don’t know if there will be reverse swing here,” he said.
“Boundaries are a bit short so it’s going to be more of a batting wicket,” he added.