India claimed the top spot in the latest ICC Test rankings after defeating an injury-hit New Zealand by 178 runs in the second Test at Kolkata on Monday. The match was won thanks to an overall team performance with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Wriddhiman Saha being the chief architects.
Bhuvneshwar replaced Umesh Yadav in the second Test at Kolkata and he justified his selection by picking up 5 crucial wickets in the first innings. The 26-year old rattled the top order of the Kiwis with his consistent and deadly swing bowling. His consistent line and length made it tough for the batsmen to score against him as they managed only 48 runs in his 15 overs.
Bhuvi's ability to swing the ball both ways on a pitch which seemed unpredictable at times, raised quite a few eyebrows. Former India pacer Zaheer Khan was quick to shower praise on him. Speaking to the media, the former Indian bowler said, "He is the best swing bowler in India now".
Zaheer also said that he was pretty impressed with the way Bhuvi was swinging the ball, "I am truly pleased to have watched Kumar's bowling and it's key reason is his controlled swing bowling on this wicket. The pitches in India are generally not conducive for swing bowling. Still, Kumar has been able to move the ball in both the ways with a perfect balance. Being able to control the swing of the ball is most important for any medium pacer. Kumar has been able to do that consistently."
Bhuvneshwar made a grand entry to the international arena in 2012 where he picked up 3 wickets in a T20 match against Pakistan. He has been a key member for India since then and has proved to be deadly with the new ball.
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His fabulous run in the international circuit was cut short by an ankle injury in 2015. it meant he could not play a big role for his country in the 2015 World Cup campaign. It was a huge blow for the Indian team as many believed that Bhuvi would have been vital in India defending the World Cup.
The medium pacer made a comeback into the Test squad against the West Indies in August 2016. He was given an opportunity in the third Test and he maintained his reputation of one of India’s finest swing bowlers by picking up 5 wickets in the first innings.
If he continues to perform like the way he has been doing, then he might well be a sure name on the team sheet in the months to come.