Bhuvneshwar Kumar played one of the best innings of his life in the second match of the ongoing 5-match ODI series between Sri Lanka and India.
Sri Lanka’s young mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya stunned India with his brilliant spell of bowling in which he took 6 crucial wickets and broke the back of India’s batting order. But, MS Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar steadied the ship and formed a match-winning partnership that Indian cricket fans will remember for a very long period of time.
After the match, Bhuvneshwar Kumar spoke to media and revealed that MS Dhoni’s advice helped in keep calm. Dhoni told Bhuvneshwar Kumar to play his natural game like he plays in Test cricket.
“When I went in to bat, MS told me to play my natural game like I play in Test cricket and don’t take any pressure as we had a lot of overs at that time. We knew if we played them out we would chase easily,” Bhuvneshwar said at the post match press conference.
“I knew there is nothing to lose in this situation as we were already seven down. I was just thinking that I can play and that I have to support MS as much as I can. And that’s what I tried to do,” he said.
“It was a little surprising because we had a very good opening partnership. Then 3-4 wickets fell quickly so it was a bit of a panic situation for us. There was no message as such from the dressing room or MS Dhoni.”
“The only thing was they wanted me to play as long as possible. I also wanted to do the same thing because that was the only chance to win if I could play all those 47 overs. That was my plan,” Bhuvneshwar said.
“He is an off-spinner but he was also bowling leg spinners and googlies so it was a surprise for us. I just wanted to play him for the wrong one or the googlies, which he was bringing in to me. And whatever was going away from me I wasn’t really worried about that.
“Whatever wickets he took that was on the googly, the incoming delivery, so my plan was to counter his incoming deliveries. Initially it was a bit difficult to read him from the hand but later on when I played him for 10-15 balls I could read his variations,” he explained.
“It was a normal plan because we knew that we didn’t need to do anything different. We tried that whatever opportunity we get for singles or doubles we will not leave that because by adding singles we wouldn’t reach a stage of needing 6-7 runs per over as we didn’t have many batsmen left. We weren’t running extra hard or trying to do anything special. We just played normally,” said Kumar.
“MS said play as you want to play. So at one particular stage I felt that I could play some attacking but risk free shots on which I had full confidence. So it’s not like that he gave me any responsibility or asked me to play any big shots. It’s just that the stage was such that I had confidence on myself that if I get such a ball I can hit it,” he added.