- Cricket Winner | December 10, 2020 | 4:02 pm
Hardik Pandya won the man-of-the-series award in the T20s and was arguably India’s best batsman in the one-day series.
Before the series, a lot was spoken about his presence as a pure batsman.
Many questioned his selection, as they felt better options are available for the number six role.
Hardik straightaway proved everyone wrong.
He impacted throughout the series and has also found a potential finishing partner in Ravindra Jadeja.
Both players were responsible for the wins in the third ODI and first T20.
While he is known for his aggressive batting, he can be more versatile as a player.
In the first and third ODI, Pandya walked in after a middle-order stutter.
Both instances were different.
In the first ODI, he had to rebuild and keep up with the run-rate in a steep chase.
He countered the bowling well and had a senior batsman for most of his innings.
Pandya showed he could attack and play extended innings in the first game.
In the third ODI, Pandya again walked in early but spent most of his time batting with Ravindra Jadeja, after whom the tail begins.
Both players needed to see India through to a good score, and Pandya looked to rotate the strike throughout.
He rotated the strike, and towards the end, both batsmen went after the bowling to help India get to a match-winning score.
Within three games, Pandya has shown his ability to bat maturely.
He controlled himself with ease and hung around at the crease for as long as possible.
Pandya is a lovely spin player, and he held his urge to go for risky shots against them.
He showed how he is more than a slogger and can take up a proper batsman’s role.
The series allowed him and Ravindra Jadeja to show themselves as talented batsmen, and the two will hopefully be a part of more beautiful partnerships in the future.
Come the T20s, Hardik was back to a format where his batsman’s ability may not be questioned.
Though there are fewer questions on him in the T20s, Pandya continued to prove his versatility.
In the second ODI, Pandya walked in with another high target to chase.
The game was in balance, and Pandya went the Dhoni way in a run-chase.
He took the game deep instead of taking early risks.
He hung around till the last over and finished the game with some magnificent big hits.
He showed his ability to withstand pressure, take the game deep, and give hope from any position.
Throughout the tour, Pandya has shown his ability to improve and bring out new aspects of his game.
He showed he could take games deep, steady the ship and go banging when required.
He proved himself as a proper batsman and matured as a player.
Though he has done well as a batsman, Pandya’s growth certainly doesn’t stop there.
In the past, Pandya has shown he could be a handy bowler.
Pandya has still not started bowling due to his back surgery, and his value will surely grow once he is back.
Why would his value as a player grow as a bowler, though?
In most sides, the number six is usually a handy bowler and can chip in with some good overs.
Pandya has proven in the past that he can be more than a handy bowler.
On many occasions, he has taken up a proper bowler’s role and went through his quota with ease.
He started as a proper bowler, and his batting was used for late acceleration or pinch-hitting.
He is now vital in both points of the game.
Given his back condition, bowling his full quota may be difficult for a while, but any amount of overs Pandya bowls will be handy.
He bowled four overs in the ODI series and picked up a wicket.
He is a very talented bowler and has some famous spells to his name already.
He has a good bouncer and some excellent good cutters.
With India struggling to find a sixth bowler, Hardik Pandya may be the best answer.
He is a skillful bowler, and his bowling may help apply pressure on the opposition.
His presence as a bowler will allow India to field all-rounders at six and seven, while both the batting and bowling remain strong.
To sum it up, Pandya’s return with the ball will surely help improve the side’s balance.
He has proven his ability to be a multi-dimensional batsman during the Australia series.
He surprised many who questioned his inclusion, and if he gets back to bowling, he will be a significant asset to the Indian team.
His bowling will make the side look more muscular as they have Ravindra Jadeja, who plays a similar role, although he is a spinner.
Having a seam-bowling all-rounder and a spin-bowling all-rounder will undoubtedly add to the balance of the side as India prepares for the next World Cup.