Melbourne, Feb 18: The doubts over Bhuvneshwar Kumar's fitness continue to be a concern for the Indian team ahead of its second World Cup pool game against South Africa as the seamer looked far from convincing during a net session here today.
Bhuvneshwar, who had suffered an ankle injury before the start of the Test series against Australia and only played the last Test in Sydney where he bowled way below his best, looked out of sorts and unfit at the Junction Oval ground of St Kilda Cricket Club here.
With Dhawal Kulkarni being kept as an additional member of the side, it seems that Bhuvneshwar's gingerly demeanour has kept the team management worried. While the likes of Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma hit their strides quickly, Bhuvneshwar cut a lonely figure standing at one end of the ground.
Even when he came on to bowl, he could not trouble either Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Ambati Rayudu, who faced most of his deliveries. While there was a main net at the centre strip of the ground, there were four adjacent nets at one corner.
The players were first doing their routines in the corner nets before coming onto the main square where the first team bowlers were in operation. Incidentally, Bhuvneshwar first went to the corner nets and did bat for quite a while.
He batted against Yadav and took the throwdowns. After spending around 25 minutes at the nets, he did bowl at those nets with a short run-up. However, while the trio of Umesh, Shami and Mohit were really seen bending their backs at the main net, Bhuvneshwar quietly stood in one corner of the ground (deep fine leg area for right-handers, third-man for the left-handers).
He intently watched his other teammates practise and it seemed that he won't come into bowl. However, he did roll his arms over to Rayudu, Dhoni and Ashwin after the likes of Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina had their turns at the nets against first XI bowlers.
What one gathered from Bhuvneshwar's run-up to the crease, loading and follow through clearly indicated that there's still sometime before he can be termed match-fit.