Other Kumar puts his hand up

In his early days at the Victoria Park Cricket Academy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a trainee who used to push the heavy roller over the main wicket on the instructions of the local curator. Bhuvneshwar's association with the Bhamashah ground goes back nine years, when his elder sister enrolled him there for coaching, at the age of 12. In the absence of Praveen Kumar in this Group B game, the Meerut-based medium pacer, Bhuvneshwar was most knowledgeble on how to exploit a wicket assisting the medium-pacers.

There is nothing striking about Bhuvneshwar's build or pace, which is distinctly medium. He is wiry and not muscular, nor is he exceptionally tall. He does not scowl at batsmen and has an innocuous action. Yet, most batsmen won't be comfortable facing him because he has the ability to swing the ball both ways. The in-swinger comes naturally to him but he developed an out-swinger early in his career, now in its fifth year. Bhuvneshwar is only 21, but has 42 first-class games under his belt. He is a useful all-rounder but is considered to have the potential to blossom into a match-winner with the ball. His five-wicket haul against Karnataka on Sunday could be bracketed into the second category.

On Saturday, Bhuvneshwar had made 36 off 73 at No.9 to help extend Uttar Pradesh's score to 283, a first innings that was propped up by Mohammad Kaif's excellent 122. It was with the new-ball that he excelled on Sunday. His first spell of 9-4-15-2 was decisive in helping Uttar Pradesh take a first innings lead of 102.

Early inroads

The absence of both Praveen (out with an elbow injury) and RP Singh (knee injury) this season put the onus on Bhuvneshwar to make early strikes. Among his medium-pace partners was debutant Ankit Singh Rajput. The early signs were omnious once Bhuvneshwar was given the new ball.

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