Great expectations for Pandya
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