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, India's acting captain Hardik Pandya praised his deputy Bhuvneshwar Kumar and said the veteran pacer deserves a lot of respect.
Further explaining the situation, Hardik stated that Bhuvneshwar deserves special notice because of his many consistent performances. In recent years, the UP cricketer had struggled with injuries and poor performance. Due to injuries, he had to withdraw from the IPL in 2020 and 2021 midway through, and according to reports, he wasn't fully fit for the 2021 T20 World Cup. Nevertheless, the veteran pacer has been on song lately and Hardik is pleased.
“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.
Andy Balbirnie, the Irish captain, was dismissed by Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who also allowed only 16 runs in his three-over session. This helped to limit the hosts to 108/4 from their given quota of 12 overs. More crucially, Kumar appeared nearly unplayable on that Dublin surface with an economy rate of just over five.