India’s World Cup-bound bowlers could pick and choose matches during the second phase of Indian Premier League as part of the workload management programme, senior pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said Thursday.
The Indian team management has mentioned more than once that the troika of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s workload must be effectively managed by franchises ahead of the World Cup starting May 30.
Asked about the gruelling IPL schedule, Bhuvneshwar, who is Sunrisers Hyderabad’s key bowler, said: “That’s there in our minds. It will come into play after the first half of IPL, six-seven matches then we can know how we can approach the second half of IPL and what we need to do to remain fit for the World Cup.
“Yes, it (World Cup) is there on our minds but we’ll look after (our fitness) in the second half of IPL,” replied Bhuvneshwar, making it clear that it will also be a prerogative of the players and their discussions with franchises.
Recently, Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore said that there had been no communication from the BCCI with regards to workload management. Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad had said that talks were on to chalk out a feasible plan but the Committee of Administrators has hinted that it might not be possible to ask franchises to rest key players.
Bhuvneshwar said that if he feels tired, he will take rest, but only after taking the franchise into confidence.
“There isn’t a surety for anything. Yes there is something which is on mind, if I feel that I am tired, then we can take rest. So of course it up to the franchise.”
The pacer is hopeful that each and every franchise will have the Indian team’s interests in mind.
“I am sure they will cooperate with each and every player because WC is a very important thing for us and BCCI may also talk to them,” he said, adding that it is for “every player playing World Cup”.
Another World Cup on the bench?
As far as his place in the squad is concerned, Bhuvneshwar, who seems to share a strange relation with World Cups, said he was just focussing on using the remaining matches of the Australia series as a platform to perform to his best.
Like in the 2015 edition, there exists a strong possibility that he might again be on the bench for the better part of the upcoming showpiece, given Mohammed Shami’s resurgence. With Jasprit Bumrah and Shami consistently doing well with the new ball and a seam bowling all-rounder set to be part of the playing XI, Bhuvneshwar could be confined to the benches for his second successive marquee event, starting in England from May 30.
In Australia and New Zealand four years ago, Haryana’s Mohit Sharma, who was bowling better at that point of time, played and the UP seamer was used in an inconsequential game against the UAE.
On the face of it, Bhuvneshwar Thursday put up a brave front when asked how difficult it is to get in and out of the side.
“I’m not worried about who’s getting a chance and who’s not getting. More importantly, it’s about getting rest. Shami got rest in New Zealand, I got rest in this series. You want to be consistent and for that you want to be fit. That’s the reason why I took rest,” Bhuvneshwar said.
Approach to ODIs
While Bhuvneshwar was not used in the Test series and subsequently played eight ODIs, Shami featured in four Tests against Australia and nine ODIs (five against Australia and four in New Zealand) in recent times. For Bhuvneshwar, the next three ODIs will be the match practice that he is looking at, as he is not considering IPL as a preparation platform.
“IPL is something... it’s where we polish our skills and be in form but ODI and T20I are totally different. So we are approaching these matches (ODIs) as the last before the World Cup,” he said, as he makes a return to the squad after being rested in the first two matches.
Not only Bumrah-Shami but the Bumrah-Bhuvneshwar combination has also been a successful one and he attributes the success to knowing their specific roles.
“If Bumrah is taking wickets then I can contain runs, so that there’s pressure on the batsmen. These are things which we keep working on. Not just two of us but as a bowling unit, we keep in mind that if somebody is picking wickets, the other bowler’s job is to not give away any runs. It could be vice versa, I could be taking wickets and he could be containing,” he said.
He has got Australia’s ODI skipper Aaron Finch out on a number of occasions and when asked about the secret behind his success, he cheekily replied: “Because he is out of form.”
One are where Bhuvneshwar can impress the management is with his batting lower down the order.
“If there are a few overs left and there’s a batsman with me, I try to give strike to him and hit a few balls. If there are many overs left and not many wickets, I just try to give myself the best chance to stay so that we can score as many runs as possible,” he said regarding his role with the bat.
(With PTI inputs)