Praveen Kumar first came to limelight for his performances for India Red in the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy 2007. He made his international debut against Pakistan at Jaipur in November 2007. He was later selected for the tri-nation Commonwealth Bank Series in 2008 in Australia (the third team was Sri Lanka) and played an important role in the Indian triumph. He was noted for his swing and his battles against Ricky Ponting. He established himself as the premier opening bowler for India in the ODIs from 2008 to 2010. He was selected for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 but owing to an injury was replaced by Sreesanth. He made his Test debut against West Indies at Kingston in June 2011. He took a five wicket haul in the first Test match of India tour of England, 2011. Due to injuries and the subsequent rise of Bhuvneshwar Kumar as the opening swing bowler he has been in and out of the team ever since. He has also allegedly been controversially involved in various brawls on and off the field.
After Unsold in IPL 2014 Auction Mumbai Indians have signed the right-arm seamer Praveen Kumar as their replacement for the injured Zaheer Khan. Zaheer, who played six games, was ruled out for the rest of the season after straining his left latissimus dorsi muscle. . He was picked up by the Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2015 auctions for a fee of 220 lakhs Indian rupees.