In the absence of first-choice pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar did a splendid job of spearheading India's pace attack in the series against South Africa. Bhuvneshwar kept things tight in power-play, proving that he's still a force to reckon with in the shortest format of the game.
After rain caused the abandonment of the series decider at Bengaluru on Sunday, leading to India and South Africa sharing the series 2-2, Bhuvneshwar was adjudged Player of the Series for picking wickets in four matches at an average of 14.16 and a strike rate of 10.4, with an electrifying spell of 4/13 at Cuttack in a losing cause, his best effort in the five-match series.
He came into the series after picking up 12 wickets in 14 matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2022 at an economy rate of 7.34. Moreover, he had been troubled by injuries to his back, hamstring and thigh. But now, it feels like Bhuvneshwar is getting back to his best bowling self.
"Really proud (on getting Player of series award). Doesn't matter if you are a bowler or batsman. But when you get Player of the Series, it's always a proud moment, and as a bowler in T20, it's always even better."
"Body feels good, but I don't want to talk much about it. I'm always focused on getting back stronger, whether it's my bowling or my fitness," said Bhuvneshwar after the match.
Asked about his role in the Indian side where he's transformed into a senior pacer and youngsters coming in, Bhuvneshwar remarked, "I'm playing for years now; my role has always been the same, especially when on the field. Bowl two in the powerplay, bowl two at the back end of the innings. These things are always the same, but as a senior, I always think about helping the youngsters."
Bhuvneshwar also credited freedom in doing what he wanted in the series to first-time skipper Rishabh Pant. "I've been lucky that the captain has given me the full hand and said do what you want. In that regard, I've been pretty blessed."