Kathmandu – 23 August 2023
Kushal Bhurtel, an undeniable standout among Nepal’s present-day openers, has carved a significant niche for himself in Nepali cricket as a front-runner. With 986 runs amassed over 43 innings with 20 sixes and 101 fours, at an average of 22.9, Bhurtel’s journey is an intriguing tapestry of triumphs and tribulations. While his contribution to Nepal’s cricket is undeniable, a closer inspection of his performance reveals a captivating tale of dynamism and inconsistency that shapes his career trajectory.
The Pinnacle and The Gaps
A detailed examination of Bhurtel’s ODI innings unveils three exceptional scores exceeding 80, portraying his ability to ascend to remarkable heights. However, a visible pattern emerges as well – scores consistently falling below 60, barring those select instances of brilliance. A noticeable void exists between the 56-84 runs range, which has evaded Bhurtel’s bat throughout his career. Notably, his ability to swiftly accelerate beyond the half-century mark is evident when he settles into his groove. A modest eight instances of scores above 40 within his 43 innings underscore his inclination for brief sparks of excellence, with five dismissals occurring between the 40-60 run range. The absence of consecutive scores above 50 is striking, underlining a crucial angle of inconsistency that demands his attention.
Remedying the shortcomings quickly will be paramount for Bhurtel to establish consistency, aligning his technique with the demands of the format.
Navigating the Bowling Challenges
Delving into the specifics of his dismissals, Bhurtel’s Achilles’ heel reveals itself primarily in the face of right-arm fast bowlers, accounting for 22 of his dismissals. The complexity of his struggles emerge against the lateral movement, often succumbing to LBW decisions against inswingers and also falling to the outswingers. Pertinently, his vulnerability within the first 15 overs is visible, with 15 of his dismissals by right-arm fast bowlers transpiring within this timeframe. His footwork remains a glaring concern, marked by the lack of movement while facing swinging deliveries, a tendency to opt for shots without commensurate foot adjustments, thus posing unnecessary risk. Remedying this shortcoming will be paramount for Bhurtel to establish consistency, aligning his technique with the demands of the format.
The Spin Equation and Strategic Improvements
A silver lining in Bhurtel’s performance emerges in his adeptness against spin bowling. His skill in executing sweep shots and slog sweeps, particularly targeting the cow corner region, underscores his comfort against spin bowlers. Remarkably, he has been dismissed only four times against right-arm spinners and once against right-arm leg spinners. This proficiency highlights his command against leg spin and minor vulnerability against left-arm orthodox spin.
With his current trajectory and a dash of sustained consistency, Bhurtel is poised to ascend as one of Nepal’s premier batsmen in the years ahead.
Decoding Dismissals and Evolving Strategies
Bhurtel’s manner of exits often revolves around being caught out, a manifestation of his audacious playing style and the occasional urge to escalate his scoring pace. Out of his 43 innings, he has been caught out on 25 occasions. An observable trend surfaces, wherein he occasionally attempts audacious shots after a sequence of dot balls, indicating a potential area for refinement. Addressing this tendency and introducing a more composed approach to rotating the strike under these circumstances will be imperative. The increase in LBW dismissals, specifically in the starting phase of his innings, warrants attention, indicative of the opposition’s adaptability to exploit this weakness. . In his first 21 innings he was dismissed LBW just 2 times but have fallen in the lbw trap 7 times in last 22 innings. In his recent 10 innings he has been dismissed lbw 3 times which has all been within first 4 overs.
A Glimpse of Promise and Areas of Growth
While inconsistency remains a recurrent theme, Bhurtel’s promise is undeniable. His strike rate stands as a testament to his explosive potential, coupled with his prowess in the field. To harness his talent and ascend to the position of greatness, Bhurtel must strive to transform those 25-30 run thresholds into formidable innings exceeding 60-70 runs. Equipping himself with enhanced techniques to counter early challenges against fast bowlers will provide the necessary foundation for consistency. Prudent shot selection during critical match situations will further cement his stature as a matured player. With his current trajectory and a dash of sustained consistency, Bhurtel is poised to ascend as one of Nepal’s premier batsmen in the years ahead.