Former India cricketer Gautam Gautam lauded Virat Kohli’s captaincy in the fifth T20I for his bowling change at the crucial stage of the match. It was speedster Bhuvneshwar Kumar who turned the game in India’s favor after it looked like slipping away from them.
India had posted a total of 224/8 in 20 overs but the target was within the reach of England after Jos Buttler and Dawid Malan stitched-up a partnership of 130 runs for the second wicket. They lost Jason Roy in the first over but Buttler and Malan didn’t let the early wicket affect their plan to go after the target with good pace.
Seeing the game going out of India’s hand, Kohli gave the ball to Kumar in the 13th over and he didn’t disappoint his captain. Buttler was dismissed on the fifth ball of the over on 52 runs. England failed to get going after his dismissal and eventually scored only 188/8 in 20 overs.
Speaking on ESPNCricinfo, Gambhir called it a stunning over by the India pacer. “It was an unbelievable over. And good captaincy from Virat Kohli as well to bring him on in the 13th over. Because the run chase was absolutely on. He can just mix up his deliveries,” he said.
“I remember one reverse sweep which Jos Buttler missed, it was just a quicker one, and a yorker, and one wide outside the off-stump. He used all the variations he had to the best of his abilities, and it was the turning point of the game,” he added.
ALSO READ: IND v ENG 2021: “KL Rahul should play in all 3 ODIs against England” – Gautam Gambhir
Gambhir pointed out why Kumar has succeeded with the new ball and called him an important asset to the team. “I think it’s difficult to play swing bowlers as compared to seam bowlers in T20 cricket. Because with seam bowlers you can actually see the line and hit through the line. But if its swinging both ways, you would have to wait a little longer. And that is why Bhuvneshwar Kumar is so dangerous with the new ball. He can swing the ball both ways,” he said.
“Bhuvneshwar Kumar is very, very important to the team. There will always be times when we will discuss Jasprit Bumrah, and Rohit Sharma, and Virat Kohli, because of their flamboyance and stuff. But there are people like Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who are very useful and always go under the radar. But these are just as important as these guys.”
The 31-year-old pacer was struggling with injury and he made a return to international cricket in the T20I series against England. Kumar went on to pick four wickets in the series and his figures are 0/15, 1/28, 0/27, 1/30, and 2/15.
“Look at what he did today (in 5th T20I). It was unbelievable on a wicket where more than 400 runs were scored. When he started, everyone said he is just a new-ball bowler. But he has developed as a great death bowler as well. Imagine Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar bowling together in the death overs,” Gambhir pointed out.
“I always believe these guys who go under the radar should always be given appreciation for their contribution. Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one of the great assets to Indian cricket. He can’t bowl at 145kph, but he has other abilities and he uses it to the best of his abilities,” he said.
(With ESPNCricinfo Inputs)