Hardik Pandya on Sunday went on to score his maiden test hundred and became the first Indian to score 100 runs before lunch. His special knock included a 26 run over against Malinda Pushpakumara and his innings consisted of 8 fours and 7 sixes. After his belligerent batting, Hardik Pandya was compared to Ben Stokes.
Pandya, who is one of IPL’s greatest findings, doesn’t shy away from expressing himself when he is on the field.
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He has been a part of the Mumbai Indians since 2015, and has developed as a player under the guidance of many elite players who were also part of the same franchise.
The all-rounder from Baroda who impressed everyone with his cricketing skills was first given a chance in India’s T20 side against Australia last year.
His consistency earned him a spot in the ODI side as well and he recently made his Test debut against Sri Lanka.
India have always been in the lookout for an all-rounder like Pandya. He is able to finish games for you. He can give you a breakthrough when you need one. He can bowl bouncers at batsmen at will.
In addition, he is an excellent fielder who can take incredible catches wherever you place him.
Pandya became an overnight sensation after his magnificent striking against Pakistan in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2017. His knock was the only positive from a lackluster batting performance by the Indian side.
In the face of pressure, he lifted his game and gave India a ray of hope before he was run out in an unfortunate manner.
The thing with promising sports persons is that they are instantly compared with the ones who went before them and the ones who are currently playing with them.
Pandya, who is now a part of the Indian side in all formats, is continuing to grow as a cricketer and has received praise from many experts.
Now the next question is whether can Hardik Pandya achieve for India what Ben Stokes has been doing for England?
“I have a lot of faith in him (Hardik) as far as any format is concerned. If he grows in confidence – you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England, brings in great balance as an all-rounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can’t become that for India,” Kohli said at a post-match press conference.
Ben Stokes has been the quintessential all-rounder for England in the recent past. Like Pandya, Stokes wears aggression on his sleeves and is a jack of all trades. He has the ability to hit the ball a long distance and bowl at a frightening pace.
He has been extremely consistent in the recent past and his ability to win matches in all formats makes him a huge threat to the opposition.
Hardik Pandya is well known for his hitting ability and his swift movement on the field. But it is his bowling that needs some attention. He has a nice and smooth bowling action but has a limited set of deliveries.
He generally bowls short of length deliveries and tries to bowl a bouncer in between. As a variation he bowls a full delivery at a slower pace.
He can bowl at a quick pace but is not as intimidating as Stokes is when he charges to the crease.
Such a limited set of bowling skills would not help him serve the purpose of a valuable wicket-taking test bowler and he would need to work on his pitching and effective variations.
Although Hardik Pandya has made his mark in the Indian side, he has a long way to go until he is able to achieve what Ben Stokes has done for England.
It is not going to be easy playing this role in all the formats, but the kind of promise that the youngster has shown since his debut, India should consider themselves blessed.