Bhuvneshwar Kumar was seen in action against Australia in the first ODI in Sydney after a gap of nearly 50 days. No wonder, he looked rusty and conceded 66 runs in his 10 overs.
Bhuvneshwar, who was a part of the Test squad, didn’t feature in any of the four Tests of the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Ahead of the second ODI against Australia in Adelaide, Bhuvneshwar was asked if being out of competitive cricket had affected his bowling, he replied: "It (not playing regularly) did impact (my rhythm). Match rhythm is totally different when it comes to bowling. I was trying everything to be in rhythm in the nets.
"But it can't be a 100 per cent when you compare to a match (situation). It wasn't great in the last match (in Sydney) but it wasn't bad as well. It can improve, as the matches will go on," he further said.
During that period, Bhuvneshwar was training hard to get into the match rhythm.
"I was trying everything to be in rhythm. In the nets, I wasn't planning or preparing to bowl in the ODIs. I was preparing like I have to play in any of the Tests. I was preparing in that manner. There wasn't anything specific that I could do.
"But it was just normal bowling and increasing the number of overs. If I was bowling 4 overs (to start with), then go to 6, then 8, then 10. The key thing for me is to be niggle-free and be in bowling rhythm," the 28-year-old seamer said.
Bhuvi also disclosed that he wasn't cent percent fit during the four-match Test series but is niggle free right now.
"See, I was fit but I couldn't say that I was a 100 per cent. Because in Test matches, it's a five-day game, so I really didn't know I would be able to go through that thing. What was good was we had bowlers who could play at that time and I got time to be 100 per cent fit again. I wasn't really sure that time," he said.
Jasprit Bumrah is considered as India’s yorker specialist but in the absence of Gujarat speedster, the team management has shouldered Bhuvneshwar with the same responsibility. In fact, Kumar was seen bowling in the nets keeping a shoe at the base of the stumps in a bid to perfect his Yorker.
"The skills (required to bowl yorkers) are also different. I was practising bowling yorkers at the shoes, and I was practising for the end (slog) overs to take wickets or block some runs. This (keeping shoes on the pitch) is something that I have been doing for some time," Bhuvneshwar asserted.
"I didn't practice that for almost a month now because in Tests, we hardly needed that. And I didn't play a match. Going into an ODI or T20I series, you need that (yorker) thing. So I was practising that," he added.
The yorker becomes all the more necessary in the death as blockhole deliveries or slower ones work with old balls (two new balls being used in ODIs).
"The skills needed are totally different (with new and old balls). You are trying to swing the new-ball and take wickets. With the old ball, you are looking to bowl yorkers or slower balls. But they are both difficult. When you are bowling with a new-ball, there are only two fielders outside the circle. With the old-ball, batsmen don't care how many guys are outside the circle,” he concluded.
(With PTI inputs)