New Delhi: Bhuvneshwar Kumar is fast becoming a sure shot death overs specialist in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Sunrisers Hyderabad medium pacer credits his success this season to bowling tight with a clear strategy in the critical last overs.
The 24-year-old from Meerut has been the most successful bowler for Hyderabad this season with the best strike rate (14.1), economy rate (5.78) and average (13.6). To top it all, he is also the highest wicket-taker with 10.
What is even surprising is that he has overshadowed arguably the world's best fast bowler and his Hyderabad team-mate, Dale Steyn.
"I have started looking at the chinks in a batsman'e armour in the death overs. The team's think-tank works out a strategy observing the batsmen during the innings and I have to carry out the plan to the best of my ability. We have to quickly find the weakness in a batsman to attack him in that particular area," Bhuvneshwar told IANS from Ahmedabad on Thursday.
"Another reason for my doing well is that I prepare well for every match, making sure the basics are right. It all varies from one match to another and who we are bowling to. We plan and strategise accordingly."
Bhuvi, as he is fondly called by his team-mates, he also thanked Steyn for the knowledge and the expertise he shared with him. The two have been bowling in tandem for Hyderabad, and this Bhuvneshwar says has helped him very much as Steyn guides the bowlers with his vast experience.
"It has been a great experience. I'm really learning a lot from him. Bowling with him has been a pleasure. He shares his knowledge and experience of playing international cricket so successfully and his advice has helped me enormously," Bhuvneshwar, who has played six Tests and 35 ODIs for India, said.
The seamer, known also for his prodigious swing bowling, credited his Hyderabad captain Shikhar Dhawan for tapping his potential to the fullest.
"Shikhar has definitely used my potential to the fullest and is very supportive. In the first six overs if the ball is swinging, he asks me to bowl three overs. He also comes back to me and Dale to bowl in the 16-20 overs and this faith of his has given me a lot of confidence to bowl at the death."
However, despite his doing so well, his team is languishing at seventh position in the eight-team league with only two wins from six matches.
"There is no particular reason for us not doing well. It is just a matter of winning a game or so to get the momentum. We are trying our best and bowling well, too, but sometimes things don't go the way you want them to. Twenty20 is a format where anything can change at any point of time," said Bhuvneshwar, who plays for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy.
On the difference in bowling conditions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India, he said: "The conditions are more or less the same, just that the UAE wickets had more grass which aid seam bowling while the wickets in India are flat. But Mumbai and Bangalore have seaming wickets and are good for fast bowlers."
India will be touring England later in the year to play five Tests. After the humiliating 0-4 defeat in 2011, there have been apprehensions about the way our bowlers will bowl and the batsmen negotiate English bowlers. But Bhuvneshwar doesn't want to look that far, saying he is not thinking about the tour as of now.
"There is a long way to go for the tour. The ball definitely swings a lot on the seaming English wickets. but I am not thinking that far ahead right now," Bhuvneshwar concluded.