Throughout the early years of his international career, Hardik Pandya was unfairly compared to the legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev. However, even India’s World Cup-winning captain would be proud of what Pandya accomplished with bat and ball to play a major role in the magnificent five-wicket victory over world champions England in the ODI final at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Realizing he needed to become the 4th mid-pace bowler/5th bowler after India lost their pace leader Jasprit Bumrah to back spasms, Pandya, taking advantage of the bounce off the rock-hard surface, he converted the short ball into his ‘ADM’. returning a career best of 7-3-24-4, with a first spell that read 4-2-2-2. This, by far, was his best run on the white ball for India.
Batting at No. 6, he then rescued India from certain defeat, guiding the younger Rishabh pants throughout his fifth wicket association of 133 runs, as he wound his way to a glorious 71 from 55 balls.
“I was in shock when MI didn’t hold him”
Pandya has been a different player since MI preferred to release him ahead of the IPL 15 mega auction earlier this year. Determined to prove his worth, the man from Baroda has just brought in his kit bag to England the white-hot form he showed at IPL 2022, where he scored 487 runs in 15 games, with four fifty while batting in the pivotal No.4 and eight grounds. @27. 75, leading his new IPL team, Gujarat Titans, to a title in his first outing.
“He was surprised when the Mumbai Indians didn’t hold him,” former India coach Ravi Shastri said in comments during the second India vs England ODI at Lord’s. “It was difficult… MI had Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav and hardick Pandya, so they had to pick three out of those five. Kishan was obviously chosen at the auction,” Shastri said.
The responsibility of captaining GT, Shastri felt, changed Pandya as a cricketer. “He was picked up by Gujarat Titans where he was given the additional responsibility of captaining which did him a lot of good. When given the responsibility he is a completely different cricketer rather than just batting and fielding,” he said. the.
A bad bowling machine
What has really given ‘Hardik Pandya 2.0’ strength is his efficient bowling, from the time he took three from 17 to restrict the Rajasthan Royals to just 130 from nine in the IPL final in Ahmedabad, he seems to be improving. .
It has helped that this is the best fit he has ever been. It means he’s a yard faster than before (in England he hit 140 a couple of times), which means his short ball is no longer fodder for batsmen. For some who essentially played for nearly two years as a pure hitter after undergoing major back surgery in London in October 2019, Pandya’s journey as a superstar-quality all-rounder is something of an inspiration.
“Many people had written him off as a bowler. It was said that he will never be able to bowl again. However, his return as a bowler is great news for Indian cricket. His return has improved the balance of the team It makes a big difference when you have a fourth fast bowler by your side, plus a spinner,” former India goalkeeper Kiran More, at whose academy in Baroda brothers Pandya, Hardik and Krunal, tells TOI. They learned to play cricket.
What seems to be suddenly working for Hardik the bowler? “He has ‘realigned’ his action, which is better now,” says junior coach Jitendra Singh from Baroda. “He worked hard (on his fitness and game) before IPL-15. The good form has made him grow in confidence, and you can see that in his body language. He knows what he’s playing. He’s playing fast. He’s tall. , so the launch of the ball is good and it gets an extra bounce,” More observes.
‘Combine with nearby kar!’
Throughout his epic stand with Pant, Pandya kept muttering some helpful advice to his partner, who initially seemed a bit shaky, even surviving a big Moeen Ali opportunity, before recovering. Revealing the conversation he had with his ‘Manchester Heist’ partner after the match, Pandya said: “Let’s have a partnership, bring the match as close as possible and finish the match. Phir tujhe enjoys karna hai a kar le. Match toh close kar!“After Pant completed his fifty, the southpaw was attempting a risky single. However, recognizing the threat of a run that would have ended India’s chances in the game at that point, Hardik turned it down.” Main nahin bhagne wala ab. I shoot maar aur run le”.
So what awaits Pandya? The T20I captaincy of India? Especially after what was achieved in the IPL. “I think he will become the captain of India T20I after this year’s T20 World Cup,” predicts More.
In photos: Ton-up Pant sees India in ODI series win over England
Rishabh Pant’s first ODI century guided India to a five-wicket and 2-1 series win over England at Old Trafford on Sunday. (Getty Images)