Ready to bowl long spells: Praveen Kumar


London: Seamer Praveen Kumar called his five-wicket haul at Lord’s a dream and said he was ready to shoulder the Indian attack in the absence of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan in the first innings of the first cricket Test against England.

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Zaheer missed the second day of the first Test owing to a hamstring strain. In his absence, India were left with a bowler short Friday. The Indian bowling looked so depleted that skipper and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni had to hand over his gloves to Rahul Dravid and roll his arms.

With Ishant Sharma erring in his line and length and spinner Harbhajan Singh failing to trouble the English batsmen, things were fast slipping out of India’s hands.

However, Praveen, who has been often criticised for his lack of pace, rose to the occasion. He was effectively swinging and seaming the ball to emerge as the sole wicket taker for India on the second day (5-106).

“It was a dream to play here, it was a good feeling,” said the 24-year-old, who played alongside England batsman Kevin Pietersen for two years with the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

“The weather was nice and it felt really nice to get the five wickets. After taking four I was very confident of getting the fifth.”

Praveen said he was prepared to bowl long spells in absence of Zaheer.

“It was not about pressure, it was about motivating myself and working hard,” he said.

“I knew all of us have will have to pitch in Zaheer’s absence and we were prepared to bowl more overs.”