New Delhi, March 10
Former India cricketer VVS Laxman feels Bhuvneshwar Kumar will play a vital role in India’s T20 World Cup campaign later this year and the pacer’s workload management needs to be prioritised.
Bhuvneshwar returns to the T20 squad after a long injury lay-off. The senior pacer had suffered a thigh muscle injury during last year’s IPL which ruled him out of the league as well as the tour of Australia.
“I still feel great and happy that Bhuvneshwar has regained fitness because he’s such an important bowler, especially in white-ball cricket for India,” Laxman said on Star Sports’ ‘Cricket Connected’.
“Apart from Jasprit Bumrah, if there’s anyone in that Indian bowling line-up who has got the experience of bowling not only with the new ball but also at the death.
“He is such an important member, we have to look after Bhuvneshwar Kumar the fast bowler because he will be playing a very important role, come November when the World Cup will happen,” Laxman added.
India’s best white-ball exponent at his peak form, the Uttar Pradesh seamer last played a T20I in December 2019.
“For him to be 100 per cent fit, I think a lot of priority and prominence has to be given to manage the workload and the injury of Bhuvneshwar Kumar.” Laxman doesn’t expect Bhuvneshwar to feature in more than two games in the five-match series against England, starting in Ahmedabad on Friday.
“I hope that he doesn’t play all the five matches. I think he can be rested in between.”
On the batting front, Laxman backed wicketkeeper-batsman KL Rahul over Shikhar Dhawan to open the innings alongside Rohit Sharma.
“It will be a tough question, as far as the selection of the second opener is concerned. There’s no doubt about that because Rohit Sharma is an automatic choice in white-ball cricket.
“I will still go with KL Rahul because over the last few months and years, I think the Indian team management went with KL Rahul as an opening batsman, and he has done really well in that position.”
Despite good IPL and Vijay Hazare campaigns in the last few months, Dhawan is expected to be the reserve opener in the series.
“You have someone as experienced as Shikhar Dhawan, who can be the backup opener in case one of these openers Rohit Sharma/KL Rahul gets injured or lose their form,” he added — PTI