New Delhi: Since the days of the legendary Kapil Dev, India have always longed for an all-rounder who can hit the deck hard while bowling and slog the ball out of the park during batting. In the past, team India have had a handful of fast-bowling all-rounders, who showed a lot of promise, but could not really prolong their careers.
But Hardik Pandya looks to be from a different breed altogether, who likes to take the responsibility on his shoulders whenever he is out there in the middle. With two fifties and five wickets in the last three matches in the ongoing series versus Australia, Pandya has been India’s x-factor player.
Pandya’s emergence in recent time has been so great that it has forced the 1983 World Cup winning Indian skipper to say that Pandya is actually ‘better’ than him.
“Hardik Pandya is better than me. But he has to do a lot of hard work. It is still too early. We should not create unnecessary burden on him. He has the talent and ability to be a great player,” Kapil said during a press conference.
However, Kapil’s record as an all-rounder was second to none during his playing days and it is still very early to compare the two players. But with such high praise coming from Kapil himself, it will surely increase Pandya’s confidence in himself.
Earlier, former India skipper and current India A coach Rahul Dravid also hailed the all-rounder for showing great maturity in recent times.
“If he bats at four, he bats in a particular way. If he bats at six, he bats in a particular way. Tomorrow, he may bat at 80 for 4, like he did in the first ODI with Dhoni. That shows maturity and that’s what you want to see,” Dravid said.
“This concept of ‘play your natural game’, which I hear all the time, frustrates me because there’s no such thing in my belief as ‘natural game.’ It’s only about how you play different situations,” Dravid added.