Knuckleball makes Bhuvneshwar Kumar dangerous, says Srikkanth

Knuckleball makes Bhuvneshwar Kumar more dangerous, says Srikkanth
Image Credit - Free Press Journal

Former India cricketer and a cricket pundit, Kris Srikkanth, has showered praises over India’s foremost pacer, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who is being touted as one of the world’s most lethal bowlers across all-formats. Srikkanth said that while Bhuvneshwar was the key architect of India’s win over South Africa in the 1st T20I, his prowess in delivering the highly lethal ‘knuckleball’ has made the 28-year-old an asset to the Indian team.

Bhuvneshwar is excellent during Powerplay and death overs, says Kris Srikkanth

Speaking about India’s victory in the 1st T20I against South Africa at the New Wanderers, Kris Srikkanth said the credit had to go to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, as his wicket-taking skills put a lid on the Proteas batting rendering it worthless. Srikkanth also added, that Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s ability to perform in the Powerplay and the death overs is what made him a world-class pacer. The 58-year-old veteran told the Times of India,

“The key architect of India’s superb victory in the first T20 is undoubtedly Bhuvneshwar Kumar. What I like about him is his ability to deliver in two critical phases of a T20 match – the Powerplay and the death overs. Those are the times when batsmen really set themselves up to have a go at the bowlers.”

“A glance at the scoreboard in the last T20 would indicate that the South African batsmen had taken on every Indian bowler except Bhuvneshwar, who is one of the deadliest T20 bowlers going around in world cricket at the moment. It was his effort with the ball which hampered the opposition during the chase.”

Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the ‘knuckleball’

Srikkanth, who has first-hand experience of working with Bhuvneshwar Kumar during the IPL, in Sunrisers Hyderabad, said that what really made ‘Bhuvi’ a lethal bowler was his ability to deliver the knuckleball with high proficiency. The veteran added that not only can Bhuvi throw a knuckleball to baffle the batsmen, he also has learned a couple variations which are virtually impossible to read. Srikkanth said,

“What makes Bhuvi lethal? He has got a fantastic action and he can swing the ball both ways without any change in action with the new ball. And the addition of a knuckleball makes him even more dangerous. He has quite a few different versions of the knuckleball and can bowl it with seam-up and cross-seam. All those variations are a result of sheer hard work and practice in perfecting them. Such variations keep the batsman guessing always and he rarely gets whacked around the park.”

Never seen such a harried South Africa T20I squad

Prior to India’s tour of South Africa, the series was being taken as one of the toughest to come around the Indian team’s schedule in a while, and there were concerns that the Virat Kohli-led Men in Blue weren’t getting enough training time. However, after losing the Test series 2-1, India turned the tables around on the Proteas, winning the ODI series 5-1, and starting the T20I series with a comfortable victory.

Srikkanth said that in his over a decade long cricket career, he had never seen the South Africa team in such a struggling form. While one major reason for the South African disorientation could be India dominating them, another plausible theory is that the Proteas are suffering in the field of team management, according to Kris Srikkanth.

South Africa seniors – JP Duminy, David Miller – need to step up

“Surprisingly, I have never seen such a jaded and disoriented South African side. I think something is wrong in their selection policies. They have been found wanting in all departments. The major problem for the hosts is that two of their senior cricketers – skipper JP Duminy and David Miller – haven’t been able to contribute much to the team’s cause with the bat. In fact, it’s adding to their misery.”

Srikkanth conclude that Virat Kohli and co. will continue to batter the South African team, and it is only upto South Africa senior players – JP Duminy and David Miller – to fight for a chance in the ongoing T20I series, or make their already bad home-series against India, the worst in recent history.

“Unless the senior duo come up with a special effort, it will be difficult for South Africa to challenge Virat Kohli & Co. I also feel that their bowling attack looks way too inexperienced for this powerful Indian batting unit.”

READ: South Africa v India, 2nd T20I: Chahal will outshine others in Centurion, says Gavaskar.


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