Hardik Pandya: Blue-eyed boy does it in whites

As a batsman who can score momentum-swinging runs and a seamer who can bowl at around 140 kmph, Pandya has shown his worth.

Published: 14th August 2017 07:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th August 2017 07:38 AM   |  A+A-

India's Hardik Pandya gestures towards team's dressing room as he celebrates scoring a century during the second day's play of their third cricket test match against Sri Lanka. | AP

India's Hardik Pandya gestures towards team's dressing room as he celebrates scoring a century during the second day's play of their third cricket test match against Sri Lanka. | AP

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: We have seen or heard about Manoj Prabhakar, Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan. All were touted to be the next Kapil Dev. On Sunday, soon after Hardik Pandya inflicted more wounds on a Sri Lankan side ready to surrender, it was the turn of selection committee chairman MSK Prasad to compare the all-rounder with India’s first World Cup winning captain.

Prasad, like the team management, has every right to feel optimistic about the performance of Pandya. He is the kind of breed that is considered golden goose in Indian cricket. A batsman who can tear into attacks and score momentum-swinging runs, a seamer who can bowl at around 140kmph, apart from being agile and electric on the field. This is what India had been looking for.

A cricketer who can genuinely be called an all-rounder, not the bits-and-pieces variety India have tried out. Irfan Pathan was a bowler who could bat. A few cameos was all that it took for India to brand Pathan an all-rounder. Even before he could realise, he was struggling to get a look-in.

Here is where Pandya is a bit different. Having made his name in T20s, he had no first-class century before Sunday. Like he himself said, Pandya has been lucky in many ways. An injury to Tamil Nadu’s Vijay Shankar meant he travelled to Australia with the A side, where coach Rahul Dravid and Prasad saw the other side of Pandya. A 79 he scored in Brisbane against an attack comprising Jackson Bird and Kane Richardson convinced them to throw the Baroda boy into the deep end and Pallekele provided evidence that Pandya can swim.

But here is where the job starts. When touring abroad for bigger challenges, the team will think about finding right balance. At 23, Pandya is young, but being an all-rounder has its own problems. While it is easy for a batsman or bowler to concentrate on a particular skill-set, Pandya will have to manage workload according to his and the team’s requirements.

“He started off as a T20 all-rounder, but has shown his potential. And now, he has to plan and manage his workload properly. Because, you need to devote time to honing both skills and it will be demanding. Maybe a full Ranji season will really show where he stands in terms of fitness and workload. The selectors should preserve him because I remember during my time, I wanted to rest for a game, but a selector was against it saying that an all-rounder is an integral part of the team,” Pathan told Express.

May be the world will still see Pandya as more of a limited-over specialist, at least for the time being, but he does seem to enjoy the format that nobody thought he would be a part of when he made his debut in 2014 IPL. “White is my favourite colour. I have played one-day cricket and IPL. Everything is blue. It’s good to be in white,” he said on Sunday. Who knows, he could become Kohli’s blue-eyed boy in whites!

Yuvi dropped, Pandey back for ODIs and T20

Veteran left-hander Yuvraj Singh was on Sunday dropped from the Indian squad for the limited-over series against Sri Lanka in what could possibly signal an end to his illustrious international career. Another player dropped from the squad that went to West Indies is young keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has been replaced by KL Rahul, who is also a decent glovesman. Kedar Jadhav can also keep wickets. Dinesh Karthik, who did a decent job in the West Indies was also dropped since he was picked as Manish Pandey’s replacement.

Squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma, MS Dhoni (wicketkeeper), Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Ajinkya Rahane.

SCOREBOARD

India 1st Innings: W Saha c Perera b Fernando 16; H. Pandya c Perera b Sandakan 108; K. Yadav c Dickwella b Sandakan 26; M. Shami c & b Sandakan 8; U. Yadav not out 3. Extras (b 10, lb 6, nb 2, w 6) 24. Total (all out, 122.3 overs) 487. Bowling: Fernando 26-3-87-2, Kumara 23-1-104-0, Karunaratne 7-0-30-0, Perera 8-1-36-0, Sandakan 35.3-4-132-5, Pushpakumara 23-2-82-3. Fow: 7-339 (Pandya), 8-401 (K. Yadav), 9-421 (Shami), 10-487 (Pandya).

Sri Lanka 1st innings: D Karunaratne c Saha b Shami 4; U Tharanga c Saha b Shami 5; K Mendis run out (Ashwin/ K. Yadav) 18; D Chandimal c Rahul b Ashwin 48; A Mathews lbw b Pandya 0; N Dickwella st Saha b K. Yadav 29; D Perera c Pandya b K Yadav 0; M Pushpakumara b K Yadav 10; L Sandakan c Dhawan b Ashwin 10; V Fernando b K Yadav 0; L Kumara not out 0. Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 6) 11. Total (all out, 37.4 overs) 135. Bowling: Shami 6.5-1-17-2, U. Yadav 3.1-0-23-0, Pandya 6-1-28-1, K Yadav 13-2-40-4, Ashwin 8.4-2-22-2. Fow: 1-14 (Tharanga), 2-23 (Karunaratne), 3-38 (Mendis), 4-38 (Mathews), 5-101 (Dickwella), 6-107 (Perera), 7-125 (Chandimal), 8-125 (Pushpakumara), 9-135 (Fernando), 10-135 (Sandakan).

Sri Lanka 2nd innings (F0): D Karunaratne not out 12; U Tharanga b U Yadav 7; M Pushpakumara not out 0. Extras 0. Total (1 wicket, 13 overs) 19. Bowling: Shami 4-2-7-0, Ashwin 6-4-5-0, U Yadav 2-0-3-1, K Yadav 1-0-4-0. Fow: 1-15 (Tharanga).

venkatakrishna@newindianexpress.com

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