Bhuvneshwar Kumar(Source: AP)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar(Source: AP)

Sunil Gavaskar, former Indian legendary batter and ex-captain and former South African captain Graeme Smith was effusive in his praise for the India star pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

There was one and only one standout performer for India in their four-wicket defeat to South Africa on Sunday at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. The 32-year-old’s impressive show gave some hope to the Indian team before a 64-run stand between Heinrich Klaasen and David Miller helped the visitors bounce back in style and wrap up the chase in 18.2 overs. Despite the loss, former India skipper Sunil Gavaskar was effusive in his praise for the India star pacer.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Image Credit: Twitter)

Graeme Smith Enjoyed Outstanding Spell From Bhuvneshwar Kumar Who Had Brilliant Control And Execution

Bhuvneshwar Kumar delivered a sensational performance in Cuttack in the second T20I game of the five-match series. He got Proteas opener Reeza Hendricks out with a perfect inswinger in his very first over to give India a perfect start to defending their total. In his next over, he got the better of Dwaine Pretorius with a knuckleball and the pacer returned for his final over in the powerplay to dismiss Rassie van der Dussen for just one.

Graeme Smith © Getty Images (File Photo)
Graeme Smith © Getty Images (File Photo)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 3 for 10 with the new ball left South Africa wounded at 29 for three at the end of the powerplay. This was the first time in 10 years that Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked three wickets in the powerplay. His last was against Pakistan in Bengaluru back in 2012.

“He was just outstanding. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was good thinking…and skill-level as well. When Reeza Hendricks was on strike, he knew he struggles against the inswinger. He got one right and knocked him over.

“Dwaine Pretorius walked in next and he decide to take him on but is knocked out with the knuckleball. Just brilliant control and execution,” said former South Africa captain Graeme Smith on Star Sports after the match. 

Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 4/13 – the best bowling figures in a losing cause in a T20 international. The India and Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer broke his own record – 3/9 against Pakistan on his T20I debut back in 2012.

Sunil Gavaskar: Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s Presence Will Be A Huge Positive For India In The 2022 T20I World Cup Where There Will Be Carry And Bounce

Bhuvneshwar Kumar returned for his final over at the fag end of the chase to dismiss Wayne Parnell for just one. And despite his efforts reading 4 for 13, India lost by 4 wickets. But Sunil Gavaskar hailed the veteran’s performance in the game and explained why he would be a huge plus for India in the impending T20 World Cup in Australia.

“He was just brilliant. The white ball doesn’t swing that much, in the air or off the surface, but he has got that capability. And that is why it was very good captaincy from Rishabh Pant to give him that third over in which he got a wicket as well.

“Because after that the ball wouldn’t have moved that much as well and Bhuvneshwar would have been ineffective. But to have someone like him in Australia, where there will that little bit of more carry and bounce, I think that will be a huge plus,” Sunil Gavaskar said.

Sunil Gavaskar
Sunil Gavaskar (Credits: AFP)

Bhuvneshwar Kumar also became the third-highest wicket-taker for India in T20I history with 63 wickets in 61 games after the 2nd T20I concluded.  Bhuvneshwar Kumar claimed 4/13 – the best bowling figures in a losing cause in a T20 international. The pacer’s career-best figure is 5/24 in T20Is and he averages 24.06 in the shortest format.