'Kapil Dev is very big name. But if Hardik keeps bowling like this...': Ex-India player's massive prediction for Pandya
The 28-year-old took an ODI best 4-24 and followed up with a fine 77, helping India recover from the early collapse in Manchester.
Star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has checked all boxes since his return from injury. Pandya on Sunday proved his white-ball prowess in England as he put on a magnificent display in the series-deciding third ODI in Manchester. The 28-year-old took an ODI best 4-24 and followed up with a fine 77, helping India recover from the early collapse. He teamed up with Rishabh Pant, who put on a superb 125 not out, giving India a 2-1 series success against the 50-over world champions. Also Read | ‘I was heartbroken as a fan’: Ashwin shares most memorable India-West Indies moment, reveals favourite Windies cricketer
Pandya used bouncers to good effect and peppered the opposition batters with the short-ball ploy. He also removed big-hitting Liam Livingstone, who was caught in the square leg region after falling to Pandya's bowling tactics.
The Indian played as a pure batter after his lower back injury. But his return to full fitness in England will be a massive boost to the team management that's searching for an ideal eleven before this year's World T20 in Australia.
Pandya, who led lesser fancied Gujarat Titans to IPL glory in their maiden season, has received plaudits from many former players including Wasim Jaffer. The flamboyant Baroda all-rounder still has a long way to go but Jaffer believes he can reach new heights and match the records of legendary Kapil Dev.
“Yes. He definitely has the capability (of bettering Kapil Dev's record in white ball cricket). Kapil Dev is a very big name. It is difficult to arrive at a conclusion so soon. But if he keeps bowling like this (it can happen). He already has the batting capability. If he plays for another 5-7 years, he could get close to Kapil's record," Jaffer told ESPNcricinfo.
Pandya is also seen as future India captain, having led the Twenty20 side in the recent away series in Ireland. "That has given me a lot of confidence when I have been able to do that. It adds layers to my game," he said after the victory in Manchester.
Speaking to media after the game, Hardik said to be able to bowl regularly gives him a lot of satisfaction, adding that the four-wicket burst in England changed “everything”.
"So firstly with my bowling, you know post IPL. After every series I take maybe four or five days to train because that is refuelling for my fitness and just to get fresh. I like to play 100 per cent because then it gives me the opportunity to do all the things which I did today," said the Gujarat Titans skipper.
"After IPL, I came back to play the South Africa series. I bowled one over and I did not bowl in couple of games. As a bowler for me, it's very important to keep bowling. So I was not finding the rhythm.
"That's where I got my rhythm and when obviously that four-wicket haul (against England in T20s) kind of changed everything and gave me my consistency and my confidence to pitch wherever I want to, so that's where I come into the picture and be effective," he added.
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