Bangalore: India lost a match they should have won, considering they were 75 for no loss after 10 overs, but there still was a massive positive — young Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s stunning debut.
There was “tension,” too, with Ishant Sharma featuring in two incidents. Pakistan’s captain and the MoM, Mohammed Hafeez, was his ‘target’ the first time. Later, there was a flare-up involving Kamran Akmal.
A heavy dose of goodwill surrounds this revival tour and a major incident could cause far more harm than good.
It won’t surprise if Match Referee Roshan Mahanama summons Ishant and Kamran for a disciplinary hearing, on Wednesday morning.
If former India captain Kapil Dev had a role to play, he would “fine” both Ishant and Kamran. “I’d do that straightaway,” he said, at the Chinnaswamy, on Tuesday night.
Getting back to Bhuvneshwar...
The 22-year-old’s performance (4-0-9-3) in the first T20 International had, among others, Kapil applauding.
“Zabardaast swing bowling... What stands out even more is that Bhuvneshwar swung the ball both ways... I’d advise him to master the out-swinger and use the in-swinger as a surprise weapon,” the legend told The Telegraph.
Himself a master of swing, Kapil added: “I haven’t seen a bowler like Bhuvneshwar in a long time... In fact, there’s hardly any bowler anywhere who swings the ball consistently and, so, the batsmen have forgotten to play that type of bowling.”
Pity that Bhuvneshwar got no support from the other end, otherwise the result (a five-wicket win for Pakistan) would have been different.
Asked if he had advice for the Kanpur-born Bhuvneshwar, Kapil grinned: “Just keep swinging!”
Fast bowling great Wasim Akram also had much praise for the debutant: “He’s got very good control and a good head.”
Reflecting on the match, Kapil observed: “After such a start, you need to score at least 150... India played eight batsmen (including Ravindra Jadeja), yet we saw such a collapse.”
Kapil felt that former captain Shoaib Malik, who anchored Pakistan’s chase, would continue to be a thorn.
“If the target isn’t that big, then Shoaib is very dangerous... He rotates the strike and is so good technically... India have to watch out for him,” Kapil pointed out.
Shoaib remained unbeaten on 57 (off 50 balls) and hit the winning runs, besides putting together the 106-run partnership for the fourth wicket with his captain.
Experienced campaigner, after all.