Bhuvneshwar Kumar eyes Lord’s as India prepare for South Africa


London: India paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar has fond memories of Lord’s and he hopes to make more history at the iconic venue by playing there in a World Cup final.

The 29-year-old made his mark at the ‘home of cricket’ by leading the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led India to a famous Test win there in 2014, his first tour with the national team.

Kumar returned figures of six for 82 and struck 52 with the bat but now he wants to be a One Day International star at Lord’s by playing there in the World Cup final on July 14.

“I’ve been here two or three times but I always like coming back to play in England. It would mean a lot to get to go back to Lord’s for the final of the World Cup,” said Kumar ahead of India’s first World Cup clash against South Africa in Southampton on Wednesday.

“Lord’s is always a special place, not just for me but for any cricketer. I have very good memories there, so if we reach the final it will be a very big moment for not just me but for the whole team.”

India, now captained by Virat Kohli, have been tagged as one of the favourites to lift the World Cup along with England and Australia.

They begin their campaign against South Africa, who’ve already lost their first two matches, on Wednesday.

But a dominating warm-up win over Bangladesh earlier this week already gives Kumar confidence of a good showing in the 50-over showpiece event.

“We got everything we wanted out of the match; when it comes to batting, bowling and fielding,” he said.

Centuries from Dhoni and Lokesh Rahul helped India to 359 for seven, a total their bowlers defended by bundling out Bangladesh for 264.

Kumar sent down five disciplined overs, conceding just 19 runs to put pressure on the opposition batsmen who lost their wickets to the spinners.

“Chasing 350 down is a very big task,” Kumar said. “There’s always extra belief when you go to bowl. You have the liberty to try a few things.” Meanwhile, it is not often that stalwarts such as Sir Viv Richards comes out and praise his rivals. But such is the pedestal that Kohli has reached that Richards not only silenced critics who have questioned Kohli’s attitude, but also said that Kohli reminds him of his own game.

“I love guys like that,” said Richards. “People talk about arrogance but it is about believing in yourself. It is like having the keys to your home, Virat has something similar now. I had it in my time, he has it now.

“I have always loved Indian batsmanship. The confidence he is blessed with, you can’t get that overnight. Either it’s instilled in you or you are born with it. He is a fighter and defends his teammates more than anyone else.

“It’s not arrogance, he fancies himself against anybody in the world and that I think is the right way to play. Every great player looks forward to being on the biggest stage and every such player wants to come out winning a cup. That’s what Kohli has with him.”

India start their campaign in the 2019 World Cup on Wednesday against South Africa at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. While India will be playing their first game, South Africa come into the game having lost both their games so far in the showpiece event, against England and Bangladesh.

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Publish date : 2019-06-03 12:13:00

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