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Losing in Knockouts of ICC Tournaments Masks Dominance in Rest of Matches: Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar defended India's recent record in ICC tournaments

Cricketnext Staff |June 26, 2020, 4:24 PM IST
India's Bhuvneshwar Kumar in action during the second ODI at Port of Spain. (Pic: AFP)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar defended India's recent record in ICC tournaments, saying their struggles in knockout stages has masked the fact that they've been dominant in the rest of the games in the events.

India last won an ICC event in 2013 when they beat England in the final to win the Champions Trophy. Since then, they've exited at the semifinal stage in World Cups 2015, 2019 and World T20 2016, lost in the final in the T20 World Cup 2014 and Champions Trophy 2017.

"The last we won was the Champions Trophy in 2013. And since then, there have been only 3-4 ICC tournaments and we have made it to the semis or the finals about 2-3 times," Bhuvneshwar told ESPNcricinfo's Cricketbaazi. "In 2015 World Cup we lost to Australia in the semi-final. And in 2019 World Cup, it was bad luck. An early loss of three top order batsmen cost us the game. It rarely happens that in a match after dismissing the opposition for under 250, you are get bowled out.

"In that entire World Cup, Rohit Sharma had scored five or six centuries, K.L. Rahul was in good form, Virat Kohli played as always and we had MS Dhoni as well in the team. Even in the 2017 Champions Trophy final, things changed after Jasprit Bumrah's no-ball.

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"It's not like we've had a one-sided loss or we went down without a fight. We've always lost due to an unfortunate event or incident. Although, the 2017 Champions Trophy final was a one-sided loss where they outplayed us. And it's difficult to pin-point the exact reason for the loss. But losing these knockout matches masks the fact that we actually played very well through those tournaments."

Talking about his bowling, Bhuvneshwar said he tries to detach himself from results just like his first India captain MS Dhoni.

"Like MS Dhoni, I try to detach myself from the result and focus on small things, which I also refer to as process. And this helps in getting the desired outcome. During IPL when I had a couple of good seasons, I was in this 'zone'. I was so focused on my process, that the result had become secondary. And results were positive," he said.

"If I am bowling the last over to Andre Russell and I have to defend 14 runs, the first thing I'll think of is the ground that I am bowling at and its dimensions. Then I'll plan where I want to bowl to him and hope he misses a ball or mistimes his shot. He is the kind of batsman, against whom your luck matters a lot."

Bhuvneshwar added that he narrows down on one option while beginning his run up, and rarely changes it.

"I go with only one option because I find it difficult to change my delivery in my sprint or after I have taken my jump. If the batsman moves, I will tweak my line a bit depending on where the batsman is moving but I'll stick to what I want to bowl," he said.

"In international cricket, you know the strengths and weaknesses of the opposition batsmen. I keep thinking about the process and how to exploit his weakness. My focus is set and it helps me execute my plan."

Bhuvneshwar said bowling with Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah is all about bowling in partnerships.

"It doesn't matter who is bowling from the other end. Because I have to do what I have to do," he explained. "But since both Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah are senior players, in a few words we are able to communicate with each other what the batsman is trying to do. It is like our bowling partnership. We don't have to tell each other much. We make a conscious effort to bowl well and maintain the pressure from both ends."

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 Australia 3028 116
2 New Zealand 2406 115
3 India 3085 114
4 England 3466 105
5 Sri Lanka 2454 91
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Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 4820 127
2 India 5819 119
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 South Africa 3345 108
5 Australia 3518 107
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Australia 5285 278
2 England 4564 268
3 India 9319 266
4 Pakistan 5470 260
5 South Africa 4380 258
see more