Hardik Pandya has become the blue-eyed boy of Team India as he has been backed by everyone whether it is the Indian captain, current players, former players, BCCI or even a few film stars. Pandya has been often compared to the English all-rounder Ben Stokes and former Indian captain Kapil Dev. Pandya’s recent performances have only strengthened his claim of being the rising star of Indian cricket. The latest entrant to Pandya’s fan club is India’s first World Cup winning captain Kapil Dev.
In a recent press conference, Dev said, “Hardik Pandya is better than me. But he has to do a lot of hard work. It is still too early. We should not create unnecessary burden on him. He has the talent and ability to be a great player.” (sic)
Pandya was given the ‘Man of the Match’ award in the third ODI for his brilliance with both the bat and ball. Pandya’s 78 helped India chase down the total easily at Holkar Stadium, Indore. Pandya is now beginning to become consistent in his play, something that he had lacked early in his career. Pandya scored well in the first ODI as well when the Indian top order struggled to stay on the crease. He is the go-to man for skipper Virat Kohli whether it’s breaking a partnership or increasing the run rate.
Dev’s comments on Pandya have put a stamp on Pandya’s ability and his future in the team. Not only Dev but former Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, too, lauded the 23-year-old for his recent performances.
From the looks of it, Pandya is going to get the maximum opportunities in the Indian team as Kohli in the post-match presentation said that they had been searching for a player like him for quite a while. According to him, Pandya brings balance to the team with his all-round performance.