Bhuvi: Maiden to order

Of India's last ten Test debutants, five have been fast bowlers. Three of them Jaidev Unadkat, Varun Aaron and Vinay Kumar have only played one Test each. None of the five, for one reason or another, are part of the squad picked by the selectors to face Australia in the first two Tests.

In the face of such grim facts, it isn't advisable to get too excited about the man likely to become India's next debutant fast bowler. It is perhaps best to merely outline what Bhuvneshwar Kumar could possibly bring to the attack, drawing from the brief glimpses of potential he has shown in first class and limited-overs cricket.

Unlike most Indian seamers of recent vintage, Bhuvneshwar comes into Test cricket with plenty of first class bowling behind him. With 1405 overs under his belt since his debut in the 2007/08 Ranji season, Bhuvneshwar has already bowled more overs in first class cricket (not including Test matches) than Ishant Sharma (793), Umesh Yadav (635) or even Sreesanth (1273), who made his first class debut five seasons before him.

And of those 1405 overs, 358 are maidens, or a maiden every 3.92 overs. Bhuvneshwar bowls maidens more frequently than Ishant (one every 4.20 overs in non-Test first class cricket), Umesh (4.54), Praveen Kumar (4.54), Sreesanth (4.63) or even Zaheer Khan (4.83). Even Javagal Srinath (4.55) and Kapil Dev (4.17) didn't bowl maidens as frequently.

Moving it around

This, of course, isn't to say that Bhuvneshwar is a better bowler than Kapil Dev. But it tells you a little bit about his method, a method essentially born of his own limitations.

Not that Bhuvneshwar is a limited bowler, skill-wise. With the new ball, Bhuvneshwar can make for pretty spectacular watching. He's already shown this in his white-ball exploits for India, most memorably in his first spell in India blues during the Bangalore T20I against Pakistan, where he bent the ball both ways to bowl the left-handed Nasir Jamshed as well as the right-handed Umar Akmal.

... contd.

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