Great to see Pandya get­ting Kohli’s full sup­port, says Ir­fan

Mid Day - - SPORT -

A tal­ented crick­eter can only re­alise his full po­ten­tial when he has the full back­ing of the team man­age­ment and that’s why Ir­fan Pathan has lauded In­dia cap­tain Vi­rat Kohli for be­liev­ing in Hardik Pandya’s all-round abil­i­ties.

Pandya, who started play­ing for In­dia last year, has raised ex­pec­ta­tions just like his se­nior Bar­oda team­mate Pathan did nearly 14 years ago, when he made his de­but against Australia in De­cem­ber 2003.

“It is great to see play­ers be­ing backed. Some­times, you al­ways won­der, play­ers, who were not backed enough and could have otherwise had a longer ca­reer,” Pathan said.

“For any player’s rise, not just Hardik’s, the back­ing of cap­tain plays a huge role. Kedar (Jad­hav) for ex­am­ple was do­ing fan­tas­ti­cally well in do­mes­tic cricket for so many years but he got the back­ing only un­der Vi­rat,” said Pathan, 32, who last played for In­dia in 2012. “Vi­rat is back­ing all the young­sters, not only one or two. If you have the back­ing of cap­tain and team man­age­ment, the player will per­form even­tu­ally. Ro­hit (Sharma) got the back­ing of Mahi bhai (Dhoni) con­sis­tently and now look at him, he is now one of the best bats­men in the world,” he said.

Some of the ex­perts in­clud­ing chair­man of se­lec­tors MSK Prasad feel that Pandya has the po­ten­tial to be­come the next Kapil Dev. However, Pathan, who has seen Pandya since the lat­ter’s ju­nior cricket days, feels that com­par­isons at best should be avoided.

“I think he will be the first Hardik Pandya! Let’s not com­pare him with any­one. Let’s give him some time. Let’s not push too much pres­sure on him. Let him play freely be­cause that way growth is bound to hap­pen,” said Pathan.

Chris Gayle lit up the gloom with a cameo (40 in 29 balls) in the fifth and final ODI yes­ter­day be­fore a late flurry of runs pro­pelled the West Indies to a com­pet­i­tive 288-6 against Eng­land.

Ini­tially WI strug­gled to make head­way un­der heavy skies fol­low­ing a rain de­lay, inch­ing to just nine runs after the end of the fourth over. But Gayle then cut loose, hit­ting 34 runs off just six balls, all de­liv­ered by Jake Ball, in­clud­ing four suc­ces­sive sixes, briefly chang­ing the com­plex­ion of the game.

Bar­oda all-rounder Ir­fan Pathan

In­dia all-rounder Hardik Pandya

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