Lower order bat Bhuvneshwar Kumar remained unbeaten on 120 at the end of the penultimate day with his side in sight of an unlikely first innings lead against North Zone. Speaking to The Indian Express,Kumar describes the most memorable knock of his life and on how he plans to take his team over the line on Wednesday. Excerpts:
Has the enormity of the day’s achievement sunk in yet?
* It was one of the best days in my life. To be honest,I never expected we’d get so close to their first innings total. When we lost the ninth wicket,we needed over 100 runs,and I just decided to stick to what I’d been doing till then. Chasing down North’s total was never in my mind. I just wanted to bat for as long as I could.
At what stage did you realize it was possible after all?
* It was when I just glanced towards the scoreboard and it said,we required just another 40-50 more to gain the lead. Even at that stage,the target seemed too far away. Rituraj (Singh) and I just decided to give it our best shot from there. We had nothing to lose. But despite having put on 100 runs already for the 10 th wicket,the job is just half done. We need 10 runs more to qualify for the final. And believe me those ten runs seem like a tougher task than those 100 runs we have put on already.
What was going through your head when you were down to the last wicket?
* Being a lower-order batsman,I hardly get such a great opportunity to spend time in the middle. Frankly,I wasn’t thinking too far ahead. Even when I play for Uttar Pradesh,I bat at various positions and batting with tailenders is not new for me. I just played my shots and it was all about taking calculated risks. Once you are batting with No.11,you have to use the long handle when you’re on strike. That’s what most batsmen do. Honestly,it just came off for me today.
Do you think Wednesday morning could be the most important in your cricket career?
* It will be. Tuesday was certainly mine. I don’t want to predict how Wednesday is going to be. The ball is old and the wicket is good for batting. I’m not on strike for the first ball. It will be Rituraj,who will face up first thing tomorrow. Let’s see how things go.