Bhuvneshwar Kumar got the prized wicket of Sachin Tendulkar in a Ranji Trophy final in 2009 at Rajiv Gandhi Stadium.

And three years later, at the same venue, the gritty cricketer from Kanpur was the toast of the entire Central Zone team.

Bhuvneshwar guided his side into the final of the Duleep Trophy with a terrific century against North Zone in the semifinal from a seemingly lost position.

The message from Central coach Abhay Sharma was pretty simple when the scoreline read 342 for nine in reply to North’s first innings score of 451: “Don’t think too much.”

“Well, that was how we approached our task. We just wanted to bat as long as we could.

“And I must say this would not have been possible but for Ritu Raj’s great effort,” said Bhuvneshwar after the match.

“Definitely, this was the best innings of my life, given the context of the game.

“I just hope to keep the momentum going in the days to come,” he said.

“It was a flat pitch with nothing for the pacers or the spinners. That itself gave lot of confidence and motivation for me to stay focused.

“We knew that unless we make mistakes we may not get out,” Bhuvneshwar said.

“I did not feel any pressure at all for I am used to opening the innings for the Club back home in Kanpur with Praveen Kumar.

“All that I tried was to stay positive and I am happy with my effort,” he said.

The Central Zone player also said that he got lots of confidence after playing under former India Saurav Ganguly for Pune Warriors.

“It was an unforgettable learning experience and I wish to keep improving by remembering all the advice they gave me,” he said.

“Certainly, this is not my favourite ground as a bowler given its nature. But, I remember the dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar in the Ranji final three years ago,” he said.

“For me, the more important thing is that I played my bit in the team’s cause.”

Keywords: Duleep Trophy

More In: Cricket | Sport