Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has said that the innings against Sri Lanka, wherein he scored his maiden ODI fifty, did a world of good to him and made him believe that he can contribute to the team in the 50-over format as well.
Kumar, who has been making significant contributions in the Tests ever since he made his debut, came out as India's unlikely batting hero in the escape to victory against Sri Lanka at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on August 25.
The 27-year-old struck an unbeaten 53 to rally India from 131/7, chasing 231 for victory in the second ODI to hand a nerve-wracking three-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the five-match series, which Virat Kohli and Co. went on to win with a clean sweep.
The right-arm pacer joined Dhoni (45*) after a sensational six-wicket haul by Sri Lankan spinner Akila Dananjaya, who snapped up six wickets in 20 deliveries and left the visitors reeling.
In the ongoing five-match series against Australia as well, the premier Indian pacer has made significant contributions lower down the order, apart from making crucial breakthroughs and breaking the backbone of the Australian batters.
In the two matches played so far, the 27-year-old made 32* and 20 and helped India post challenging totals, which ultimately proved to be enough for the hosts to win.
"I haven't tried anything out of the box. It's just that I have a natural talent of batting. Especially in Tests, I can contribute. But when it comes to ODIs, the number at which I bat, 8 or 9, it usually requires me to hit the ball and go from the word go, which I admit I don't have the ability. However, in the last 3-4 matches, I got the opportunity to play 10-25 overs," said Kumar at the post-match press conference.
"Especially the innings against Sri Lanka boosted my confidence a lot. It made me believe that yes, I can contribute with the bat in ODI cricket as well.Unfortunately, in the last two matches, we lost wickets and I was required to stay at the wicket for 10-15 overs and make runs," he added.
Left-arm chinaman Kuldeep Yadav's hat-trick and Kumar's 3/9 helped India beat Australia by 50 runs at the Eden Gardens to go 2-0 up in the five-match series on Thursday.
Kumar also talked about his development as a bowler and said his increase in pace has helped him improve death bowling.
"Initially, I used to rely on the conditions and the wicket. But as you play international cricket, you get to know where you need to improve. After making my debut, for one year or so, I thought about increasing my pace. But I didn't have any clue how to increase my pace," he said.
"Generally, it is said that training and working on fitness helps in increasing the pace. When our new physio came in, I trained with him and my pace got increased. After my pace got increased, I got to know I don't have to try too many things but to focus on swing. It is absolutely true that the increase in pace in death bowling also. IPL did help but the increase in pace did help me a lot," he added.