India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Wednesday differed with his skipper Virat Kohli on the significance of ODIs in a Twenty20 World Cup year, saying that all international matches are important and another bad series will be confidence-denting.
After the 0-3 drubbing in New Zealand recently last month, Kohli had said that ODIs hardly have any significance in a calendar year that features a Twenty20 World Cup.
“International matches are important. We just lost a series in New Zealand and you all are aware of the reactions after that. Our aim is to win the series because if we don’t do well, an individual’s confidence also gets affected,” Bhuvneshwar said on the eve of the first ODI between India and South Africa in Dharamsala on Thursday.
Bhuvneshwar believes that a good outing in the series will be a confidence-booster for players going into the upcoming Indian Premier League that starts on March 29.
“T20 is a different thing but if we do well here, we will have confidence going into the IPL which is necessary.”
After missing the tour of New Zealand, Bhuvneshwar is making a comeback to the team following a successful sports hernia surgery last year.
And the 31-year-old was candid enough to admit that making a comeback is not easy for fast bowlers.
“It’s difficult to maintain pace when you are returning from an injury because it always plays on the mind that if you strive for pace then the injury might reoccur. The best option is such a case is to play matches as much as possible to gain confidence that you are fit,” Bhuvneshwar said.
Insisting that it is good to have backup bowlers in the event of an injury, Bhuvneshwar said healthy competition is always a good sign for any team.
“If we look from the team’s perspective, if a bowler is injured and there are 2-3 bowlers to replace him, you know there is healthy competition,” he said.
“So, it’s a positive point because then you will be making your comeback with a positive mindset. You will prepare for the competition. So, it’s good for the team as well as for an individual.”
Rain threat in Dharamsala?
With rain predicted on Thursday, Bhuvneshwar also hinted that India would prefer to bowl first if they win the toss.
“Generally it’s a good batting wicket. The dew also plays a role in the evening then it gets difficult for a bowler. In high altitude grounds, the ball also travels faster.”
Talking about his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy (NCA), Bhuvneshwar said he never wanted to return to the team half fit and without playing any practice matches.
“When I started after the surgery, I started slowly. After one week I started different exercises related to bowling and then when I felt I am fit, I started bowling at the nets and played matches,” he said.
“...I didn’t want to return without playing a practice match.”
It was an optional practice session for India on Wednesday which skipper Kohli and all-rounder Hardik Pandya skipped.
Pandya is returning to the side after a six-month injury lay-off. He suffered a back injury during last year’s ODI World Cup that required a surgery.