India captain Hardik Pandya applauded India speedster Bhuvneshwar Kumar, saying that the senior India pacer isn’t someone who is in the talk all the time but that he deserves a lot of respect and praise for his stunning show in T20I cricket. Hardik’s comments came after Bhuvneshwar stood up in swing-friendly conditions at the Malahide Cricket Club in Dublin in the 1st T20I against Ireland on Sunday, June 26.
Notably, Bhuvneshwar Kumar conceded just 16 runs and got the big wicket of Ireland captain Andy Balbirne with a wonderful inswinging delivery in the first over of the rain-curtailed 12-overs-per-side contest on Sunday as well. With conditions helping swing on an overcast afternoon, Bhuvneshwar was nearly unplayable as he bowled 3 overs with an economy rate of slightly over 5 even as Ireland scored 108 in 12 overs as well.
“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 Pandya 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.”
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Hardik Pandya also applauded Yuzvendra Chahal, who struggled in the cold weather in Dublin but finished with figures of 1/11 in 3 overs. And, 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 as well.
“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. 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 Pandya further added.
Meanwhile, he heaped praise on Harry Tector, saying that the 22-year-old Ireland batter has the calibre to not just feature in the Indian Premier League but in other high-quality tournaments across the globe as well. His shot-making, especially through the off-side left Pandya in awe. Harry Tector smashed 64 from just 33 balls in the first T20I.
“Oh, he (Harry Tector) played some fantastic shots. And obviously, he’s 22. I think I have given him a bat as well. So maybe he can score some more sixes and maybe get an IPL contract,” Hardik told the press after the 1st T20I in Dublin. “And I wish him luck and, you know, just look after him. Well, give him the right guidance. It’s not always about cricket. It’s about understanding your own lifestyle and understanding what is at stake. If you can manage that, I’m sure he’s going to be around not just in the IPL, but in all the leagues in the world.”
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“Look when it was raining, I was just thinking you got to feel sorry for the fans because we were going to be playing a match here after a very long time, completely packed crowd, genuinely felt that we were playing back in India. So the overriding sentiment was let’s just get on with the match, even if it was going to be a 5-over game, that would be great. Luckily, for the fans and for us we had a 12-over game that gave an opportunity to both the teams to get to the ground. When you come so far, to play against Ireland and it is very important for them that the match had to be played and good that it happened,” Hardik Pandya concluded.
Both the teams will play the 2nd and final T20I of the series at the same venue on Tuesday, June 28.