Bangalore, Jun 24: The way Indian seam bowler Praveen Kumar bowled on his Test debut against West Indies on a not-so conducive pitch for fast-bowling, the Indian selectors can do well to include him in the squad for the upcoming Test series against England.
Praveen, known as a street-smart cricketer who can swing the ball both ways, can really prove to be handful in the overcast and seam-friendly conditions of England. And given the little support for spinners in the English conditions, he can become the third-seamer for India with Harbhajan being the lone tweaker in the playing XI.
Ever since he made his international debut for India, the aggressive swing-bowler from Uttar Pradesh, has improved in leaps and bounds. The fact that he has a very effective out-swinger and a lethal in-swinger, coupled with his ability to outsmart batsman, has ensured that he remains in the thick of actions for the Indian team.
Indian skipper M S Dhoni was effusive in his praise for the young bowler and said, "Praveen is a very skilful bowler and can swing it either way. He doesn't have the pace, but he can swing the ball, and confuse the batsmen if they needed to play or leave a delivery."
The fact that he is got a very big heart and takes disappointments in his stride to improve his performance was on display in the first innings of the recently concluded Test against West Indies. Although he was barred from bowling after running on the pitch for three times, he still came back strongly in the second innings to push West Indies back.
Indian skipper acknowledges this quality of Praveen to fight back against odd and in the post-match conference said, "He showed great character after having been stopped from bowling in the first innings. When you are switching from the 10-over format to 20 to 25 overs in an innings, you have to be careful."
He added, "Importantly, he backed his strength and picked up wickets in the second innings as well."
With Zaheer Khan and probably S Sreesanth for company in England, Praveen can further bloom into a very fine Test bowler. And given the pitch and weather conditions in England, the UP youngster can really prove to be an asset for the Indian team.