All-rounder Hardik Pandya is having the time of his life in 2016. The player made his debuts in all the three formats of cricket that too without having played enough first-class cricket. Pandya has played only 16 first class matches and has a batting average of just over 27 runs. His 22 wickets do not speak much for his fast-bowling abilities. Still, he has got a chance to play Test matches. Not many are as lucky as he is.
Hardik Pandya got a chance to play T-20 internationals against Australia in January this year. Though, he impressed with his bowling and batting occasionally, he didn’t play any innings to remember or bowled a great spell. In 16 T20s, he has scored only 78 runs and has taken 15 wickets.
Last month, he made his ODI debut against New Zealand. In the first match, he bowled beautifully. He was the man of the match. However, in the rest of the matches he didn’t leave an impression both with the bat and the ball.
Selector MSK Prasad said in a press-conference that Pandya has improved and that he was moving the ball.
“After the Australia A tour, if you look, his pace has increased, he is able to move the ball much better, his batsmanship has increased and overall his personality has just mellowed down. He did really well (in the A series) and in this ODI series (against New Zealand). He is one all-rounder who is an equally competent bowler, batsman and fielder,” Prasad explained.
Indeed, Pandya has been moving the ball and that he has mellowed down. He is getting better. But better is not good. He has still not proved that he is worth the hype. His bowling is inconsistent and his batting is irresponsible. One can sugarcoat it as much one can, but his shot selection has been really bad. MS Dhoni had justified the shot selections of youngsters saying he didn’t want them to go into their shells. But, in Test matches, a player is required to play according to conditions and circumstances. If he is required to play longer, with his temperament to hit every ball out of the park, he would get out without making any significant contribution to team’s cause. MSK Prasad said Rahul Dravid is working on his temperament. Hope he does his job well.
As far as Hardik Pandya is concerned, India’s quest for a fast-bowling all-rounder has made the team management choose him again and again. He better prove the management right and deliver this time.