Hardik Pandya hails Bhuvneshwar Kumar after 1st T20I win vs Ireland: He deserves a lot of respect

India captain Hardik Pandya heaped rich praise on Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saying the senior India pacer isn’t someone who is talked up all the time but that he deserves a lot of respect for his exploits in T20I cricket. Hardik’s comments came after Bhuvneshwar shone in swing-friendly conditions at the Malahide Cricket Club in Dublin in the 1st T20i against Ireland on Sunday, June 26.

Hardik Pandya said Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s remarkable ability is to do the same thing over and over again with precision and that the senior pacer is a proven match-winner in the shortest format of the game.

Bhuvneshwar gave away just 16 runs and got the big wicket of Ireland captain Andy Balbirne with a wonderful inswinging delivery as early as the first over of the rain-curtailed 12-overs-per-side contest on Sunday. With conditions aiding swing on an overcast afternoon, Bhuvneshwar was nearly unplayable as he bowled 3 overs with an economy rate of little over 5 even as Ireland scored 108 in 12 overs.

“Obviously, everyone knows what sort of caliber Bhuvi (Bhuvneswar Kumar) has as a bowler…like we say, always comes in and does the same thing over and over again. But at times flies under the carpet because nobody talks too much (about him),” Hardik said at the post-match press conference.

“But if you look back, the performances that he has given, the consistency with which he has performed, he demands a lot of respect and actually he deserves it.”

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was struggling for form, especially during the IPL and T20 World Cup last year. The senior pacer, bogged down by injuries, played only 2 matches before being dropped from the team at the T20 World Cup as India suffered an early exit in the UAE last year.

However, it seems Bhuvneshwar has found his zip back, furthering his ability to swing the ball and be effective in the powerplay. Bhuvneshwar has picked up 12 wickets in 10 T20Is at an impressive economy rate of 6.64.

Hardik also had words of praise for Yuzvendra Chahal, who battled cold weather in Dublin to finish with figures of 1/11 in 3 overs.

“So for me Bhuvi is top class and same Yuzi (Yuzvendra Chahal) as well. Match winner, just toss the ball to him and tell him you bowl whatever you have to…he usually wins the match for you.”

India chased down the total in just 9.2 overs with Deepak Hooda and Hardik Pandya stitching a 64-run stand for the 4th wicket. Notably, Hooda, who returned to the XI after warming the benches during the home T20i series against South Africa, hit 47 not out from just 29 balls after he was asked to open the batting with Ishan Kishan.

India opted to open with Hooda after Ruturaj Gaikwad suffered a niggle after the toss in the 1st T20I.

“Very happy for (Deepak) Hooda as well because to open (the innings) after being told at the last minute and then to go and finish the game shows a lot of his character. So very happy for him,” Hardik added.

The two teams will meet in the 2nd and final T20I of the series at the same venue on Tuesday, June 28.

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