Bhuvneshwar Kumar returns to first-class cricket with an eight-wicket haul


On a breathtaking occasion, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who returned to first-class cricket after six years, claimed a career-best 8/41 on Day 2 of the match between Uttar Pradesh and Bengal in the ongoing Ranji Trophy 2024 at Green Park Stadium in Kanpur on January 13. The right-arm pacer claimed five wickets for 25 in 13 overs on Day 1 of the ongoing game, marking his 13th five-wicket haul in first-class cricket. Courtesy of his mind-boggling spell, Bengal were bundled out for 188 in their first innings.

On Day 1, the 33-year-old ran riot through Bengal’s batting order, sending back Sourav Paul (13) and Sudip Gharami (0) in the space of three deliveries. Following that, he came back and dismissed captain Manoj Tiwary (3), Abhishek Porel (12), and Anustup Majumdar (12) on the same day. On the second day, the UP bowler removed the well-settled Shreyansh Ghosh (41) and went on to take the wickets of Pradipta Pramanik and Suraj Jaiswal to complete his record spell.

For the unreversed, Bhuvneshwar last played a Test during India’s tour to South Africa in January 2018. This spell might help him to make a comeback to India’s red-ball squad. The veteran has now reached 226 wickets in his 71st first-class match at an average of 26.53 and an impressive economy rate of 2.80. In addition to 13 fifers, the Meerut pacer has also claimed nine four-wicket hauls thus far. Meanwhile, in Tests, he has made 63 scalps in 21 games since making his debut in 2013.

Speaking of the clash, Bengal made a strong start after asking Uttar Pradesh to bat first. Mohammed Kaif, Mohammed Shami’s younger brother, was key for Bengal, claiming a four-wicket haul for 14 in his 5.5 overs and helping his side restrict UP to a mere 60 runs. Meanwhile, Suraj Jaiswal and Ishan Porel took three and two wickets, respectively. In response, Bhuvneshwar scalped eight as UP bowled out Bengal for 188.