Tag: Praveen Kumar

Praveen Kumar’s third dimension

One of Test cricket’s greatest strengths over the other formats is how you get to know the players better. We’d seen a great deal of Praveen Kumar before this series, but had no particular opinion about him. This has changed in the last few weeks.

First came the revelation that he didn’t have as wide an array of slower balls as we thought, he was actually just a medium-pacer. This made us happy, because it brought diversity to Test cricket.

Since then, we’ve seen his depth of character. What can you learn about someone in four overs of Twenty20? Very little. What can you learn in 158.3 overs of slog in a Test series? A hell of a lot. It is not a never-say-die attitude that he has, it is almost beyond that. Even when his team is in a position as crappy as his team mates’ fielding, Kumar gives his all.

Then there is his batting.

Praveen Kumar’s batting is simply ludicrous and is another reason why Tests are better than Twenty20s. Bowlers rarely get to the crease in Twenty20 anyway, but even if they do, they have to try and bat like Kumar does, so it’s unremarkable. In a Test match, his unique approach seems like a compulsion that has come about after being subjected to pissed-up neurosurgery. It’s amazingly entertaining, not least for the batsman himself, who spends half his team laughing even when his fingers are being mangled beyond recognition by the few deliveries he fails to pitch into the stands.

In a losing series, Kumar’s bowling figures stand up to scrutiny, but we fear there are few places in the world as well-suited to his style of bowling as England. It would be a shame if he didn’t survive in Test cricket. It really would.

Praveen Kumar brings medium-pace back to Test cricket

We didn’t even recognise Praveen Kumar when we switched on the first Test between the West Indies and India. His is a familiar face, but we’d never seen him in white clothes before.

It had also never really occurred to us just how slowly he bowls. While Ishant Sharma’s pace is right back up there (he’ll do well in England next month), Kumar’s effort ball just shades past 80mph.

It’s club cricket pace and this is no bad thing. Fast bowlers are few and far between, but 85mph bowlers are ten-a-penny. Kumar stands out from the crowd.

He charges in with deceptive effort, bowls a nice bit of away-swing and then runs all over the danger area to try and distract the batsman. Viewed from the side, his action looks pleasingly hideous. We think it’s because he doesn’t really bother with his front arm, but whatever it is, it’s another attribute in our eyes.

Test cricket’s about diversity, so we hope there’s room for frontline medium-pace trundlers. We don’t know whether there is, but the Praveen Kumar experiment is likely to provide us with the answer.

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