Sydney: Hardik Pandya’s stock in Indian cricket is on the rise. The all-rounder has been in the news for all the right reasons since the ICC Champions Trophy in July this year. While India lost the final of the tournament in England against arch-rivals Pakistan, Hardik was one of the only highlights for India for his whirlwind 46-ball 76-run knock.
He has followed that performances with some good showing in Sri Lanka, where he scored his maiden international hundred, and the recent ODI series against Australia, where he shone with bat (222 runs) and ball (six wickets) to win the Man of the Series Award. And while he has a long way to go be considered as one of the finest to have played for India, his recent showings have generated the Kapil Dev comparisons – fast-bowling all-rounder India always wanted post the Haryana Hurricane’s retirement.
Former Australia skipper, Ian Chappell too has discussed Hardik’s potential and compared him with England all-rounder Ben Stokes.
“Hardik Pandya is potentially the fast-bowling allrounder India have craved since Kapil Dev retired. Pandya is a huge hit with the fans and was partly responsible for India dominating Australia in the recent ODI series. However, his biggest influence on the team could come in the Test arena,” said Chappell in his column for ESPNcricinfo.
“A player like Pandya, who has the ability to bat in the top six and also produce deliveries clocked at 140kph, gives a Test side the flexibility that leads to success under all conditions. It affords India the opportunity to field a balanced attack of five bowlers no matter what the conditions,” added Chappell, who seemed impressed with Pandya’s performance in the ODI series against Steve Smith-led Australia.
Chappell, who has been pivotal to Australian cricket team’s success during his time and is considered to be one of the astute observers of the game, liked Pandya to England all-rounder Ben Stokes.
“With his flamboyant style, Pandya reminds me a little of the electrifying England allrounder Ben Stokes - the outstanding and highly combative cricketer on the field rather than the citizen with a propensity for self-destruction off it,” said Chappell.
“Both players are aggressive in their approach and this often results in a match-changing performance or a deflating and spectacular misfire. Neither player is concerned with containment and this can lead to the odd profligate spell of bowling. Equally, their predatory batting approach is prone to occasional outlandish dismissals that leave fans groaning. However, when they succeed, it can lead to quick runs or wickets in clumps, either of which can change the course of a match,” added Chappell.