bhuvneshwar kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (AFP Photo)

Sunil Gavaskar reckons the form of Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the only issue facing India as they look for a sixth straight series triumph at home when they take field against West Indies in the fifth and final ODI on Thursday.

Bhuvneshwar returned to the India ODI squad after being rested for the opening two games of the five-match series. He returned in Pune but proved expensive, leaking 70 runs in 10 overs for just one wicket as India lost by 43 runs. In the following game in Mumbai, he bowled five overs for 30 runs and one wicket.

“The only worry [for India] still is Bhuvneshwar Kumar and he is looking undercooked at the moment. The more he bowls the better it will be,” Gavaskar wrote in his column for The Times of India on Thursday.

Gavaskar was impressed how Rohit Sharma overcame the failure in Pune when he was dismissed by Windies captain Jason Holder with a beautiful delivery. Rohit responded by stepping forward in Mumbai in order to negate the swing Holder could produce.

For Gavaskar, the moment Holder changed his length, Rohit had won the battle. “Cricket is not just a game of bat and ball but also a mental one as a batsman is trying to anticipate what a bowler is going to bowl the next ball and the bowler is trying to outthink the batsman too. So Rohit Sharma after being bowled by a beauty by the Windies skipper Jason Holder at Pune, started to step down the pitch to him in order to negate the late swing,” Gavaskar observed.

He continued, “Holder retaliated by banging the ball short or bowling it wide outside the off-stump and Sharma had won the battle there itself. It was no surprise that he then went on to score a big hundred because once the first few overs are done and he starts putting his front foot forward, there is no stopping him in white ball cricket.”

Rohit went on to score a magnificent 162 off 137. Ambati Rayudu also scored a brisk century, 100 off 81, his third such score in ODIs which, as per Gavaskar has cemented the middle-order batsman’s position in India’s playing XI. “Ambati Rayudu also played magnificently to notch a hundred and cement his place in the team. In the bowling department, Khaleel got the white ball to swing quite nicely but it was the way he got the experienced Samuels that was the highlight,” he said.