Bhuvneshwar Kumar's omission from the Test squad for the tour of England may have surprised many. However, according to reports, Kumar's lack of matches in the longest format of the game and question marks over his fitness on a long tour led the selectors to ignore him.
India’s Test squad for England features six fast bowlers - Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav. In addition, the BCCI has also announced three pacers as standby.
According to a report in IANS, Bhuvneshwar Kumar wasn’t considered for Test selection, as he hasn’t played a first-class match since January 2018. The last first-class game Bhuvneshwar Kumar featured in was the Johannesburg Test back in January 2018.
A source was quoted as telling the news agency in this regard:
"The selectors think that he is still not fit to play long format, especially on such a long tour.”
The report also added that India have found numerous pace-bowling options in recent times, with the likes of Siraj and Thakur impressing in Australia. As such, the team is unlikely to miss the services of Bhuvneshwar Kumar during the tour.
After making his Test debut back in 2013, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has featured in only 21 Tests, claiming 63 wickets at an average of 26.09.
The 31-year-old Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s career has been plagued by injuries, especially in the last few years. He suffered a thigh muscle injury during IPL 2020 and was subsequently ruled out of the tour of Australia.
The medium-pacer recovered sooner than expected and featured in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy as well as the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Satisfied with his fitness and performances, the selectors recalled him for the white-ball series against England.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar provided a good account of himself on his India comeback. He claimed six wickets in three ODIs at an average of 22.5 and an impressive economy rate of 4.65.
In the T20I series, he picked up four wickets at an average of 28.75 and an economy rate of 8.06. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in fact, was the Man of the Match for his figures of 2 for 15 in the deciding T20I against the visitors in Ahmedabad.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, though, struggled in IPL 2021. In five matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad, he picked up three wickets at an average of 57.66 and an economy rate of 9.1.