"Very important to get acclimatized to the place for longer format because Tests are the toughest," says Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been a mainstay of the Indian bowling line-up for over three years now and with time, the swing bowler has only gotten better. While once he was criticised for compromising with speed to facilitate more swing, Bhuvneshwar has evolved with time and is now considered one of the better exponents of pace bowling.
Though the 28-year-old is not a part of the Indian Test team for the first three matches of the series, he did play a part in the ODI and T20 series. A lower back injury has kept him out of action, which aggravated after he was made to play in the deciding third ODI against England.
Amidst all of it, Bhuvneshwar was announced as the brand ambassador of sports apparel company ASICS and in an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, he opened up on his association with the brand, his increased pace, the knuckleball and more.
What is the difference in preparation when heading into Tests, T20s and ODIs?
It depends. If we have a One Day series, so the preparation is according to the shorter format but if you have to switch formats then practice comes to the fore. You play three-four day match as it's very important to get acclimatized to the place for longer format because Test format is the toughest thing, you have to be there 5 days on the field. The only change in bowling is the line and length and variation. If you play T20s, it's more about variations and in Test matches, it's more about the classical requirements of line and length.
How do you feel being associated with the brand and how will the ASICS shoes help you during training?
Of course it feels good. If you get associated with such a brand, it's always good. Even before. all the bowlers used ASICS and even now. Earlier there were limited opportunities but since ASICS has come to India and we have had an association, we get whatever we want according to our needs and we all want to get associated to such companies because you know that they are the best in the world and it'll be good for you. Shoes are very important for fast bowlers, just like bats are for batsmen.
What specific changes have you made in your action to enhance your speed and how has that change helped you?
It's more about fitness. There is a big difference in the training schedule I had two to three years ago and the one that I have now. Some particular exercises have helped as well. Maybe, in the last three years, my body has matured a lot with age which has helped me in increasing my pace. So the main thing has been the change in my fitness regimes, our Indian team trainer has introduced a few things as well and all that collectively has helped me to increase my speed.
Importance of knuckle-ball in T20s and now that a lot of pacers have learned the trade, is it here to stay as it won't be long before the batsmen start picking it up?
T20 is a format where variations are very important. If the batsmen try and play different shots, the bowlers try and pick them up and maneuver the delivery accordingly, so now that the knuckleball is being widely used, the batsmen will try to read and negate it. So, naturally, if something is being used as widely, the batsmen will read it. However, the knuckleball is something which is very difficult to bowl and is more effective than other slower balls such as leg cutter or off cutter because there is no change in wrist position. But yes, batsmen are very clever today and they find a way to tackle that thing.
How does it feel joining the likes of Djokovic as ASICS brand ambassador? Have you followed Djokovic's career and how does he inspire you?
Can't say that I'm of the same league but yes it is good to be associated with such a brand. I have followed his career but not to a great extent as we have so many tours but whenever we get the opportunity we do follow the Grand Slams. But our league is totally different, he is a big player and completely different from us.