Former England captains Michael Atherton and Nasser Hussain, and ex-India off-spinner and selector Sarandeep Singh all felt that ‘Bhuvi,’ still one of the best natural swing bowlers around, should’ve been an automatic choice for England.
The 31-year-old instead found himself with the Indian team in Sri Lanka for a white-ball series, being named as the vice-captain of the side.
To be fair to the selectors, Bhuvneshwar played the last of his 21 Tests in January 2018. In comparison, he has played 117 ODIs, in which he’s taken 138 wickets, and 48 T20 internationals, which have yielded him 45 scalps.
For the last few years, his fitness too has been dodgy. There has been a talk that he perhaps prefers playing the T20 format and looks a certainty for the T20 World Cup in UAE. However, speaking from Colombo at a virtual presser on Friday, the Uttar Pradesh seamer emphasized that “red ball” cricket remains part of his plan.
“To be honest, there is no priority for me whether it’s red ball or white ball. If I am selected in red ball and I am part of any team, I will definitely try to contribute. I am not looking to prioritise white- or red-ball cricket. So, (I am) working on preparing for all formats,” Bhuvneshwar said, ahead of the first ODI on Sunday.
Asked if he was looking at playing Test cricket in the next 18 months, Bhuvneshwar said: “I am definitely not looking so far ahead. I will prepare myself for all three formats.”
Asked if he was satisfied with what he had achieved in his career so far, and whether there are any regrets about not being a part of the ‘main’ team in England, the pacer said that he didn’t agree that the Indian team in Sri Lanka was a second-string side.
“I don’t think the team playing in England is the ‘main team’ neither is this team the ‘main’ one. Both are Indian teams,” he said. “As far as I am concerned, injuries are part and parcel and ups and downs are there, but I am satisfied with my career. My endeavour is to contribute as much as possible for the Indian team,” he stressed.
Having been plagued by injuries, Bhuvneshwar has learnt to understand his ‘recovery process’ better, even as he said that he hasn’t changed his bowling style one bit.
“The only thing I have worked on is how to get over those injuries quickly. But not any particular thing,” he said.