Great ex­pec­ta­tions for Pandya

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - SPORT -

THE com­par­isons with for­mer cap­tain Kapil Dev may be pre­ma­ture only three matches into his test ca­reer, but all-rounder Hardik Pandya is al­ready shap­ing up as a key man in In­dia’s mis­sion to con­quer the world.

Since the re­tire­ment of Dev in 1994, In­dia have been en­gaged in a per­pet­ual search for an all-rounder who can bowl medium pace and score vi­tal runs down the bat­ting or­der.

While the coun­try has pro­duced a plethora of spin-bowl­ing all-rounders who suit their needs in Asian con­di­tions, tours of Aus­tralia, Eng­land and South Africa have ex­posed the need for a bats­man who can turn his arm to fast bowl­ing.

The likes of Ir­fan Pathan, who played 29 tests from 2003 to 2008, and more re­cently Stu­art Binny, have au­di­tioned for the role, but nei­ther was able to con­vinc­ingly make it his own.

At 23, Pandya is al­ready a reg­u­lar mem­ber of In­dia’s lim­ited-overs sides and eased into the long­est for­mat of the game dur­ing In­dia’s re­cent 3-0 white­wash of Sri Lanka.

There were un­der­stand­able reser­va­tions about his red-ball cre­den­tials, but af­ter his first test se­ries Pandya was al­ready be­ing com­pared with some of cricket’s best all-rounders. – Reuters

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