IND vs SA: 'Bowlers let him down in first', Bhuvneshwar backs young captain Pant

Cuttack, Jun 11 (IANS): Experienced India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Saturday backed under-fire captain Rishabh Pant, saying that stand-in skipper was let down by the bowlers in the high-scoring first T20I against South Africa.

The 24-year-old Pant was named India captain for the ongoing T20I series against South Africa after designated skipper KL Rahul was ruled out for the all five matches out on the eve of the first game due a groin injury.

Leading India for the first time, Pant had a tough day as his bowlers struggled with their line and length and were taken to the cleaners. He also faced some criticism regarding the use of his bowling resources. However, Indian pacer feels Pant is a young captain who will try to do better and improve as the series progresses.

"He's a young captain and it was his first match. I'm sure he will try to do better and improve as the series progresses. Generally the captain is as good as the team and it's a team effort," Bhuvneshwar said at the pre-match press conference here.

"Our bowling did not go off well and let him down. If we did well then you would have hailed his decision-making skills. I'm sure he will do well," he added.

During the first T20I, Indian bowlers were hammered to all parts of the Arun Jaitley stadium on Thursday night especially by David Miller and Rassie van der Dussen as they could not defend 212.

But, the experienced campaigner, who is leading the Indian pace attack in the ongoing five-match series in absence of Jasprit Bumrah and Md Shami, is too worried about their bowling and expressed optimism about a strong comeback in the second match.

"There wasn't any big discussion as anyone can have an off day. As a bowling unit, we had an off day but that's okay we just want to come back in the next match.It was the first match of the series and everybody was coming out of the IPL, almost everyone in the team had a good IPL. Everyone knows what needs to be done and things to improve on," he said.

"We are aware that we didn't bowl well in the first match. So we hope to improve, bowl well and level the series. We still have four matches to go, we have matches in hand to bounce back," he said.

In the first game, Indian side picked a relatively young fast bowling lineup in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan, but none of them could make an impact and also were very expensive.

According to Bhuvneshwar, it's about taking responsibility and improving in every match ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia.

"My target is not any different. I just have to bowl in the same way as in the power play or in the death overs. Yes, in absence of them, I try to take up responsibility, focus on improving in every match before going to the T20 World Cup," he said.



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Title: IND vs SA: 'Bowlers let him down in first', Bhuvneshwar backs young captain Pant

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