As per some news reports, Bhuvneshwar Kumar might feature in the Boxing Day Test match at Melbourne as he has shown significant improvements in his ankle post the injury he picked up at the start of the tour. While the possible return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar is good news for India since he was the team’s best player in England, India must be careful not to stretch him too much if he is not 100 per cent fit. It is true that India are struggling in the bowling department, but bringing Bhuvneshwar Kumar in even if he is not completely ready will be a sure shot case of panic. India did something similar in England by playing an unfit Virender Sehwag, and suffered as the opener made ducks in both the innings.
Above photo: Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowling during the India Tour of England 2014
In case, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is fit to play at Melbourne, it would definitely be a boost for India, but his selection alone cannot guarantee a reversal in fortunes for the Indians. Cricket, after all, is a team sport, and many others need to contribute if India want desired results. It must also be remembered that, unlike in England, conditions in Australia would not be as conducive to Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s type of bowling. The surfaces here are more for bang it in kind of bowlers like Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. Unfortunately, both have failed to utilise the conditions on offer.
It is not to say that Bhuvneshwar Kumar cannot succeed in Australia. He definitely has the talent to do well. At the same time, it must be remembered that he should not be expected to pick as many wickets as in England. It is a fact that he doesn’t have the pace to trouble the Aussie batsmen, who, as it is, are great players of fast bowling. Whatever wickets he will get will be due to the movement he generates in the air and off the pitch. One thing that, however, will definitely change with Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s inclusion is the strength in the batting order. As of now, the Indian tail is falling like nine pins, without putting up any sort of resistance. Having seen Bhuvneshwar Kumar bat so well in England, they would be hopeful that he can continue his good work in Australia as well.
In case, Bhuvneshwar Kumar gets picked for Melbourne, the obvious question will be whom to drop. Looking at the performances over the two Tests, Varun Aaron seems all but certain to sit out. He has bowled so terribly in the two Tests so far, that there is no reason why he should play for India again anytime soon. From what we have seen off him so far, Varun Aaron looks like a highly overrated bowler. For that matter even Ishant Sharma doesn’t deserve to get picked for Melbourne. But, whether MS Dhoni will prefer Mohammed Shami over Ishant Sharma for the Boxing Day Test match is anybody’s guess.
Australia vs India, 3rd Test at Melbourne begins tomorrow on December 26th, 2014.