Even though Virat Kohli had predicted that he would miss at least two matches, Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar seems to be making rapid progress in his recovery and was seen bowling in nets on June 25. News agency ANI tweeted a video of the right-arm pacer practising at the indoor nets of the stadium in Manchester.
Bhuvneshwar injured himself during India's match against Pakistan on June 16 and had to walk off after bowling just a few overs in his opening spell. India had two all-rounders in that match – Hardik Pandya and Vijay Shankar – who both picked up two wickets and ensured that India didn't get affected too much by his absence.
In the last game that the Men in Blue played, Mohammad Shami was brought back into the XI to replace Kumar and performed brilliantly. He ended the match with a hat-trick that seems to have improved his standing in the team. If Kumar is fit, it would create a nice headache for the Indian team management. They will have to decide whether to drop Shami despite his hat-trick, a decision that would be questioned, or keep Bhuvi out, despite him having been India's leading new ball bowler alongside Jasprit Bumrah.
But going into the business end of the tournament, India would like to have all the options available, including that of playing three seamers. The fitness of Bhuvneshwar would provide Virat Kohli precisely that.
India have won all their completed matches in the World Cup so far and the only game they didn't, against New Zealand, was washed out without a ball being bowled. They are among the favourites to go all the way but their very narrow victory against Afghanistan suggests that they are not invincible. It may be argued that even though Shami got a hat-trick, it was at a stage when the Afghan batsmen had no option but to swing wildly. Bhuvneshwar, on the other hand, could be a better option with the new ball.