Team India put up a splendid all-round display in the first T20I of the three-match series against England, beating the Three Lions by 50 runs at the Rose Bowl in Southampton. The Indian team led by the talismanic Rohit Sharma produced a scintillating show by the bat, putting up a huge total of 198/8 on the board, thanks to a quickfire 51 from Hardik Pandya. In response, England bowled out for 148, and once again Hardik Pandya was the hero with the ball, having picked up four wickets to seal a comfortable win for India. While Hardik Pandya’s performance with both bat and ball was the main factor behind the Men in Blue’s victory, Bhuveshwar Kumar was the man who started it by picking the all-important wicket of England Jos Buttler for a golden duck. Bhuvneshwar Kumar looked sharp from the word go as he swung the ball from the start of the England innings, eventually finishing with figures of 1/10 in three overs. Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s stunning display came in for rich praise from several former cricketers, including former Pakistan spinner Danish Kaneria who compared him with Mohammad Asif.
According to Danish Kaneria, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the modern-day master of inswing and can move the ball on almost every surface. Moreover, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s line and length were immaculate, to say the least, and that’s why he was able to trouble most batters with his deliveries, especially at a time when the conditions were in his favor.
“The ball that Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled to dismiss Jos Buttler at the start was a brilliant one. He moves the ball in the air and watching him bowl in England is even more fun. Because of the help he gets, he becomes a deadly bowler,” Danish Kaneria said on his YouTube channel.
“Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the master of inswingers, just like Mohammad Asif. His seam and swing is so impressive, he proves too good for batters at times,” Danish Kaneria added.
Danish Kaneria also lauded Arshdeep Singh, who was playing his first match in international cricket, and what a debut it was as he started with a maiden over against England opener Jason Roy.
“I have been saying from the start that India should play him. He can do wonders for Team India. He seems like someone who works hard and uses his brain very well. He was fearless,” Kaneria said of Arshdeep Singh.
Meanwhile, Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s impressive effort with the ball in the first T20I even earned rave reviews from England captain Jos Buttler who mentioned that the veteran India fast bowler could swing the ball anywhere in the world.
“We were outplayed today. India bowled fantastically well, we couldn’t get back from there. Thought we came back well with the ball in the second half. They were a little bit above bar, but their ball swung quite consistently early on and got wickets,” Jos Buttler said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
“Chris Jordan to come away with figures like that – he did fantastically well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar can swing it on most places. It swung more than usual, we probably had to hit one to the stands to reduce the swing,” Jos Buttler stated stated.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s resurgence was hailed by former India opener Aakash Chopra and ex-England captain Michael Vaughan as well. While Aakash Chopra said that the “old Bhuvi was back”, Michael Vaughan described him as one of the great Indian fast bowlers.
“The way Bhuvi clean bowled Buttler was fantastic. It’s almost like he has found his second wing. Six months ago, I had said that he may not be my first-choice swing bowler in T20 and one-day cricket. But in the past six to eight months, whenever you saw him, you felt he has reinvented the wheel, the old Bhuvi is back,” Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
“There is accuracy, and wicket-taking ability and the ball is swinging. So Bhuvneshwar Kumar is also making his presence count,” Aakash Chopra pointed out.
“That’s the perfect display by India. With the bat there was aggression and they got to a good number. Then with the ball in the hand, the skill. The conditions can’t change so much within an hour or so. I don’t think that’s possible, it was just outstanding skill. Bhuvneshwar is up there with the great swing bowlers. He just got it hooping,” Michael Vaughan said on Cricbuzz.
“Hardik bowled quick. Some of those balls were fizzing past the England batters. Brilliant from India. That is the blueprint, that is their mental storage of how you play T20 cricket,” Vaughan summed up.