Defeat scars Kumar’s dream debut
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a famous name in the Indian cricket circuit even before he got his first national call-up. As an 18-year-old he earned himself the distinction of handing Sachin Tendulkar his first ever duck in first-class domestic cricket, in the 2008-09 Ranji Trophy.
An unassuming, skinny and shy medium pacer from Uttar Pradesh, 22-year-old Kumar fulfilled his dream of donning the India jersey in the first Twenty20 International against Pakistan. And if at all he was suffering from any nerves of making a debut in such high-profile series against the arch rivals, it was not evident in Kumar’s performance.
His bowling figures of 4-0-9-3 were the main reason why India could take the match into the last over after putting on a below-par 133 on board batting first. That India ended on the losing side took a bit of magic out of Kumar’s dream debut.
After the match, the young, courteous man spoke to bcci.tv about the big moment of putting on his first India cap and the disappointment of not being able to play his first ODI series with the recently retired Sachin Tendulkar.
Excerpts from his interview:
Was this a dream debut for you?
It would have been a dream debut if we had won. It was a good debut – scoring six crucial runs at the death, picking up three wickets for nine runs and taking a catch. It would have been perfect had we won in the end.
When were you told that you’ll be playing in this match?
I was told beforehand that I had a good chance. After seeing the wicket, the team management decided that I will play. I was happy but nervous too. They were normal debut nerves and nothing to do with the fact that it was against Pakistan. Once I entered the field, I was pretty normal.
Were you expecting the call-up in the first place?
I was hopeful. I scored a first-class century and did well in Ranji Trophy and Duleep Trophy. I was hoping to get in as an all-rounder.
Debutants tend to get carried away with the enormity of the occasion. But you seemed unruffled and clear in your plans.
I tried to do what I have been doing at the domestic level and the IPL, and that’s what the seniors suggested me to do. You can say that the time spent with RCB did help me in terms of knowing what kind of Twenty20 wicket this is. Overall, the IPL experience was useful because of what I learnt from the international players about bowling in T20s.
Who have you looked up to as your bowling idol?
Praveen Kumar and I are from the same city. I have been watching him since a long time and I think we’re very similar bowlers. I look up to him as my mentor. Like him, my main weapon is swing bowling and I rely a lot on it especially in helpful conditions like this.
How was it playing under MS Dhoni?
I have always watched him on TV and thought what a good captain he is. Before this game he told me that although I am playing for India and it’s a big thing, at the end of the day it’s just another match. You have played a lot of cricket matches and this is one of them. He supported me right through my spell as well.
Disappointed that Sachin Tendulkar will not be part of your debut ODI series?
Yes, that’s a big disappointment. When I saw his retirement news on the TV, I thought that I’ve lost the chance to play alongside him. But then I thought that I still have a chance to play with him in Tests. I hope that happens.