While Bumrah was excluded from the T20 World Cup due to a back stress fracture, Bhuvneshwar himself went through a tough time during the Asia Cup and the subsequent bilateral series as his performance in death overs came under scanner.
However, the Meerut man was in excellent rhythm overall and it was his first game of sharp swing bowling that put pressure on Pakistan, helping young Arshdeep Singh to take wickets of Mohammed Rizwan and Babar Azam.
So did the bowling unit do something extra to compensate for Bumrah’s absence?
“The kind of bowler that Bumrah is, it’s definitely a big loss for the team. It’s not like we will have to do anything extra that Bumrah is not around,” Bhuvneshwar told reporters in mixed territory after another tight performance against the Netherlands.
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“Even if Bumrah would have been there, we couldn’t have done those extra things. We do exactly what our strengths are.”
When asked if the criticism over his Asia Cup death bowling hurt him because he had done admirably well for India for a decade, Bhuvneshwar did give the impression that he was not amused.
“Itni saalon mein ek baar ho gayi cheezein kharab. So ho gayi. Baat khatm. (In all these years I had this one-time tournament. It happened. It’s done and dusted).
“Media and commentators can say a lot of things (about death bowling), but as a team we knew we were going to have our share of ups and downs.
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“T20 is a format where it can be difficult for bowlers and even for batsmen if the track is difficult. But as Asia Cup is a big event, people tend to assess you that much more.”
Bhuvneshwar said he stays away from social media during big events.
“During the World Cup I keep myself completely away from social media and have no idea what everything is being written about. Because it is the social media from which you learn all these things.”
In the tournament opener against Pakistan, Bhuvneshwar literally tormented Rizwan with his swing and he said he never expected this much swing in Australia.
“I never expected my deliveries to swing so much. Either me or Arshdeep who got two wickets, Arshdeep and I complimented each other. So you can say I was happy,” said the senior bowler.
Talk about Arshdeep and his face lights up.
“He has been great since his debut. He always asked what kind of pitch will be presented there and what kind of shots the batsmen will play on this pitch. He asks me and also Rohit and Virat. Considering his first T20 WC, it is going very well with him.”
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Bhuvneshwar also confirmed that there are no designated death bowlers.
“There are no designated death bowlers as such. You can’t plan like that in cricket, where you know before a tournament, who your death bowlers are.
“A lot of things are instinctive and captain takes a call on how he assesses the situation at that moment.”
PREPARATION IN PERTH WAS VERY IMPORTANT
The Indian team had a seven-day camp in Perth and therefore, while playing in South Africa on Saturday, it could work to the team’s advantage.
“The first phase of preparation when we touched down here in Perth was the most important one. The strategy changes with each team as batsmen change. We discussed and trained on the execution of plans.
“If you lose a match first in a tournament and that too against a tough team like Pakistan, it would have been difficult to make a comeback.”
The tendency in such events is for batsmen to learn hell in the back 10, he said.
“You might feel as a bowling unit we conceded 15 to 20 more (34 in last 3 overs), but that has been a pattern of all teams in this World Cup,” said Bhuvneshwar.
“If you watch most games, teams don’t score much in the first 10, but once the ball gets a bit older, steady batsmen start scoring runs.”