India vs New Zealand 2017: Bhuvneshwar Kumar discloses the person behind his improved showing
What's the story?
Seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has attributed his improved consistency in recent times to India's bowling coach Bharat Arun. Hailing the 54-year-old for making useful suggestions to help regain his swing, the right-armer insisted that he has not compromised on his strengths despite increasing his pace.
Speaking to reporters ahead of the final ODI against New Zealand, Bhuvneshwar Kumar revealed, "At this level, you don't want to get into too much technique but he (Bharat Arun) is the one who studies a lot and is very good at managing bowlers. He pinpoints things that really help improve your bowling. When I added pace, I lost my swing a bit. But he gave me a suggestion, pointed some small things which I couldn't catch. In me getting my swing back, he has a big role in it."
He added, "As you play, you grow as a player. I have improved a lot in the last couple of years as a bowler. I have added a bit of pace but haven't lost my swing. That's something which I am really happy about. My batting also has improved, overall I have grown as a player."
In case you didn't know...
Born in Vijayawada, Bharat Arun was a robust seam-bowling all-rounder who represented Tamil Nadu during the 1980s in the country's domestic circuit. Due to the presence of the legendary Kapil Dev, his appearances for the Indian team were limited to just two Tests and four ODIs.
The heart of the matter
Based on the recommendation of the then newly-appointed head coach Ravi Shastri, BCCI named Arun as India's bowling coach across all formats in July. The veteran had previously worked with Shastri in a similar capacity during the all-rounder's tenure as team director from 2014 to 2016.
Under Arun's mentorship, Bhuvneshwar has improved by leaps and bounds during the last few series. Following his persistence on adding an extra yard of pace to his bowling, the seamer had briefly lost his trademark prodigious swing. However, the canny right-armer worked hard on his basics and has managed to generate sharp movement with the new-ball once again. His impeccable death bowling skills have also helped him form a reliable partnership with Jasprit Bumrah in the limited-overs formats.
India will continue to rely on Bhuvneshwar's ability to make early inroads when they meet New Zealand for the deciding game of the 3-match ODI series at the Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on Sunday.
With the limelight firmly thrust on high-profile international legends, the tireless efforts of unheralded Indian coaches like Arun do not usually get the same amount of attention from the cricket-crazy public. Bhuvneshwar's revelation offers an insight into the stalwart's coaching skills.