Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar said playing for Indian Premier League side Sunrisers Hyderabad has been a turning point in his career as he learnt to handle the pressure of bowling at the death.

India’s fierce pack attack is now one of the best in the world and Bhuvneshwar is a key figure in the white-ball set-up along with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.

Bhuvneshwar said he always had the ability to bowl yorkers but delivering in crunch moments is something that he learnt after joining the Sunrisers squad back in 2014.

Most wickets over 12 seasons of IPL

PLAYER Inns Wkts Avg Econ SR
Malinga 122 170 19.80 7.14 16.62
Mishra 147 157 24.19 7.35 19.75
Harbhajan 157 150 26.44 7.05 22.49
Chawla 156 150 27.14 7.82 20.82
Bravo 131 147 24.60 8.39 17.59
Bhuvneshwar 117 133 23.71 7.24 19.63
Ashwin 136 125 26.48 6.79 23.39
Narine 109 122 23.31 6.67 20.96
Umesh 118 119 29.37 8.45 20.84
Jadeja 142 108 29.18 7.57 23.10

“I always had the ability to bowl yorkers but then I lost it. At Sunrisers Hyderabad, they wanted me to bowl at the start of the innings as well as at the end. The 14 matches I played in 2014, I learnt to handle pressure and that was a turning point,” Bhuvneshwar told former Indian wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta on ESPNCricinfo’s ‘Cricketbaazi’.

Bhuvneshwar, who has been part of SRH since 2014, has taken 133 wickets in his IPL career during which he has played 117 matches. The pacer also was the leading wicket-taker in the tournament for two consecutive editions in 2016 and 2017. He is, by some distance, SRH’s leading wicket-taker.

“I learnt new things, especially handling pressure at death bowling (during Sunrisers stint),” he said.

Most wickets in IPL for SRH

Player Mat Wkts BBI Ave Econ SR
Bhuvneshwar 86 109 5/19 22.33 7.41 18.0
Rashid 46 55 3/19 21.69 6.55 19.8
Kaul 34 43 4/29 25.32 8.46 17.9
Karn 46 36 4/38 30.80 7.82 23.6

Bhuvneshwar, who has taken 132 ODI and 63 Test wickets, said he has been most successful whenever he has managed to detach himself from the outcome of the games like former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“Like MS Dhoni, I try to detach myself from the result and focus on small things, which I also refer to as process. And this helps in getting the desired outcome.

“During IPL when I had a couple of good seasons, I was in this zone. I was so focused on my process, that the result had become secondary. And results were positive.”

Talking about how is he keeping himself motivated while being away from the game due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bhuvneshwar said it hasn’t been easy.

“I was very motivated for the first 15 days of the lockdown. No one knew how long it would last and I didn’t have any equipment to exercise at home either. We thought things would get better in a couple of months,” he said.

“But after 15 days, I started finding it difficult to motivate myself. I then ordered equipment at home and things have improved since...I am working on coming out of this lockdown as a better version of myself. On-field performance is different, but I can work on my fitness, or my athletic ability, or gaining more strength,” he added.

(With PTI inputs)