IMAGE: India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar sustained an injury in the World Cup match against Pakistan and did not play against Afghanistan. Photograph: BCCI
Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar picked pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar over fellow-speedster Mohammed Shami, who took a sensational last over hat-trick against Afghanistan, for India’s World Cup match against the West Indies in Manchester on Thursday.
The Master Blaster picked “Bhuvi”, as pacer is commonly known, for his sheer ability to trouble swashbuckling West Indies batsman Chris Gayle.
“It’s a great news for India that Bhuvneshwar Kumar is fit. I have seen his body language which showed that he is really confident,” Tendulkar told Star Sports on Wednesday.
Kumar (29) sustained an injury in the match against Pakistan and missed the game against Afghanistan, which India won by 11 runs on June 22.
Shami (29), who was drafted into the team in place of Kumar, took a hat-trick in the 50th over of Afghanistan’s innings to become just the second Indian, after pacer Chetan Sharma, to achieve the feat in a World Cup match.
“For the upcoming match between India and West Indies, if I had to choose between Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, I would definitely pick Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“The only reason being, Bhuvneshwar Kumar can bowl to Chris Gayle at the outer angle and that is what makes Chris Gayle uncomfortable.
“I still remember how uncomfortable Chris Gayle was when Bhuvneshwar Kumar was bowling at him in the last Test I played,” added Tendulkar, who holds numerous batting records to his name.
The 46-year-old batting legend played the last of his 200 Tests, a world record, at Mumbai in 2013.
“I know it will be a little unfortunate for Mohammed Shami, but I believe, for this game, Bhuvneshwar Kumar should be picked,” Tendulkar said.
India, unbeaten in the World Cup till now, take on an ousted-yet-dangerous West Indies in its sixth league phase encounter of the showpiece event.
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