Bhuvneshwar Kumar will definitely miss the game against Afghanistan but he faces a race against time for the West Indies and England game. (Image credit: ANI Twitter)
Virat Kohli's Indian cricket team put up a brilliant performance against Pakistan with both bat and ball as they extended their World Cup domination to 7-0 in the tournament. Rohit Sharma blasted his 24th century and aided by a couple of wickets from Kuldeep Yadav and Hardik Pandya, India registered a crushing 89-run win via DLS method in Manchester as they continued their dominant run in the competition. However, the victory came at a cost with Bhuvneshwar Kumar suffering a hamstring injury while bowling the fourth ball of the fourth over. Bhuvneshwar bowled a good ball which beat Imam-ul-Haq but he was seen feeling his left hamstring. Bhuvneshwar was stretching his hamstring with Dhoni and a few others talking to him. In the interim, umpire Bruce Oxenford called for the hammer to repair the landing area.
Apparently, Bhuvi slipped while delivering the ball in those footholes and he walked off slightly angry. Minutes later, the Indian team management confirmed that Bhuvneshwar was feeling tightness in his left hamstring and would play no further part in the match.
However, the injury provided a silver lining as Vijay Shankar struck with his first ball in the World Cup by trapping Imam-ul-Haq with a good length delivery that swung back in and it struck Imam on leg stump. Shankar achieved a unique feat as he became only the third bowler in history to take a wicket with his first ball in the World Cup. Malachi Jones of Bermuda got the wicket of Robin Uthappa in the 2007 World Cup in Port of Spain while Ian Harvey of Australia also got a wicket with his first ball against Pakistan in Johannesburg in the 2003 World Cup.
In the post-match presentation, Kohli said the injury was not too serious for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. "Bhuvi's case looks like a niggle, a case of slipping on the footmarks. It doesn't look too serious at the moment and looks like he could recover in a couple of games from now, a maximum of three games. He is going to be an important factor for us so hopefully, he can recover in time. Even Bhuvi doesn't think his niggle is too bad and that time would heal it," Kohli said.
With Bhuvneshwar's absence, Mohammed Shami will finally get a chance for the upcoming games and it will once again explore the depth in the Indian dressing room regarding both the batting and the bowling. Shami was impressive in the series in Australia and New Zealand and there have been calls to include him in the playing XIs.
India will play their next games on June 22 against Afghanistan in Southampton, West Indies on June 29 in Manchester while they will take on England on June 30 in Birmingham.