India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, in a conversation with Deep Dasgupta on ESPN Cricinfo, recalled how dismissing Sachin Tendulkar for a duck in a Ranji Trophy encounter proved to be the turning point in his career.
Bhuvneshwar, now an established bowler at the top level, said that even though he had good numbers to show in 2008/09, his second season in first-class cricket, it was only after Tendulkar’s wicket that the spotlight actually came on him.
Playing for Uttar Pradesh in the Ranji Trophy final against Mumbai, a domestic powerhouse, the pacer, only 18 at the time, dismantled the opposition top order, finishing with figures of 5-78. Tendulkar, who failed to trouble the scorers, was his third wicket of the innings, but one that went on to have a lasting impact on his career.
“It was a very big turning point for me,” Bhuvneshwar said. “I had already taken 30-35 wickets overall that season but all of my past performances and numbers were only highlighted after I dismissed Paaji (Sachin). Once I dismissed him, people started taking note of my stats from previous seasons and realised that I have performed well in the past as well.
“So that particular wicket brought my previous performances to the fore and people realised that because he has done well in the past, he might do so in the future as well. I have always maintained that the wicket was a turning point in my career, which made people take notice of me.”
Though Uttar Pradesh went on to lose the final, Bhuvneshwar finished the season with 31 wickets, which prompted Royal Challengers Bangalore to hand him an IPL contract for the 2009 season. He made his India debut three years later, as a 21-year-old, in a T20I against Pakistan.