'Deserves a lot of respect'- Hardik Pandya lavishes massive praises on Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up the key wicket of Irish skipper Andy Balbirnie.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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India’s stand-in captain Hardik Pandya has lauded his deputy Bhuvneshwar Kumar by saying that the senior pacer deserves a lot of respect after the Men in Blue defeated Ireland by seven wickets in the first T20I at the Malahide Cricket Club Ground in Dublin on Sunday, June 26.

Giving further clarification on the same, Hardik said that Bhuvneshwar has given many consistent performances due to which he deserves a special mention. The UP cricketer had been struggling with poor form and injuries in the last couple of years. He had to back out of IPL 2020 and 2021 midway due to injuries and wasn’t reportedly entirely fit during the 2021 T20 World Cup. Nevertheless, the veteran pacer has been on song lately and Hardik is pleased.

Everyone knows what sort of caliber Bhuvneswar Kumar has: Hardik Pandya

“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,” he added.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar accounted for Irish skipper Andy Balbirnie and conceded just 16 runs in his three-over spell which was eventually instrumental in restricting the hosts to 108/4 from their allotted quota of 12 overs. More importantly, with an economy rate of little over five, Kumar looked almost unplayable on that Dublin surface.

Having registered a comfortable win, India would now be focusing on the series-deciding second and final T20I at the same venue on Tuesday, June 28. The key focus could be on pace sensation Umran Malik who was handed his debut cap in the last game, but the youngster had a forgettable outing going wicketless and conceding 14 runs in the only over that he got to bowl.