India vs South Africa, 2nd ODI: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s lack of bite and swing prove costly | Cricket News


As the South African batsmen thrashed India’s hapless, toothless and clueless bowling attack, one man’s presence in the team invited scrutiny.
Running in fast but bowling nothing more than friendly medium pace, Bhuvneshwar Kumar – in another listless display by a bowler once known for his magic with swing – went wicketless for 67 in eight overs of sheer mediocrity.

With Proteas openers Quinton de Kock and Janneman Malan going hammers and tongs during their 132-run opening stand, Bhuvneshwar went for 40 in his first four overs. He was brought back later, but was dealt with easily by Aiden Markram and Rassie va der Dussen. At the moment, it looks like ‘Bhuvi,’ once the master of swing bowling and India’s potent new-ball weapon, may have played his last ODI for India for quite a while.
In the first ODI, he conceded 64 in 10 overs as South Africa made 296. Looking pedestrian, ‘Bhuvi’ is yet to pick up a wicket in the ODI series and is being taken to the cleaners easily by the Proteas batsmen.
Having been struck down by injuries frequently in recent years, Bhuvneshwar has found the going tough on his return to international cricket. Picked for the T20 World Cup in UAE last year, the seamer conceded 25 in three overs without taking a wicket in India’s 10-wicket defeat at the hands of Pakistan in Dubai, and wasn’t picked for any of the games thereafter.

He was left out for the rest of the tournament thereafter. In the home T20Is, he started off with a bang, cleaning up Daryl Mitchell’s stumps with a perfect inswinger with his third ball in the first game in Jaipur. He finished with 2-24 in four overs in that game, but gave away 51 runs in six overs in the next two games.
In South Africa, a place where seamers normally thrive, Bhuvneshwar has taken just two wickets in seven ODIs against the hosts, with his average (166. 50) and strike rate (156. 00) both being pathetic. In his last five games in SA, the Uttar Pradesh bowler has failed to a single wicket. Lack of swing could be an issue but these figures are inexcusable.
Unless Mohammed Siraj is still unfit, it’s hard to understand why the 31-year-old is in the XI. In fact, his case – in which form seems to have taken a backseat to reputation – seems to be similar to that of Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in the Test team. All three were top players for India once, but are now pale shadows of themselves, having lost their ‘A’ game long back.
Unless new India coach Rahul Dravid bites the bullet and shows the door to experienced players in poor touch, this malaise won’t be cured and India will continue to lose games against top sides.

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Publish date : 2022-01-22 03:36:00

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