Kohli expecting balance from Hardik Pandya: The Indian captain was satisfied with the all-rounder’s performance on return.
There is no better achievement for the current Indian cricket team than gaining an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series against New Zealand in New Zealand. Considered as a tough place to play for overseas teams, India weren’t expected to decide the fate of the series only six into it despite coming on the back of defeating Australia in Australia across formats.
He might not have been the highest run-scorer or wicket-taker for India in the third match, but all-rounder Hardik Pandya definitely proved as to what the team was missing in his absence.
That was a fielder’s wicket, absolutely stunning catch from Hardik Pandya. #NZvInd
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) January 28, 2019
2-45 from his full quota of 10 overs for Hardik Pandya. And an excellent catch. On the field, he has been sharp.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) January 28, 2019
Playing an international match after more than four months, there is no hiding to the fact that there were apprehensions regarding how Pandya will turn up at the highest level. That being said, he put on display an assured and all-round performance which must have settled down a lot of nerves for the visitors and their fans.
Pandya made an instant impact in the match by grabbing a stunner to dismiss New Zealand captain Kane Williamson (28) in the 17th over. With the ball in hand, Pandya dismissed Henry Nicholls (6) and Mitchell Santner (3) in consecutive overs to not let the opposition build a partnership during the second half of their innings.
In the 10 overs which he bowled, Pandya conceded 45 runs and grabbed two wickets. The team management would be desperate to give Pandya a chance with the bat as well for he needs to find form ahead of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
A stunner of a catch from @hardikpandya7 to dismiss the New Zealand Captain.
— BCCI (@BCCI) January 28, 2019
Nothing will change my opinion of Hardik Pandya, not even this catch or any of his contribution.
— Online Citizen (@unilator) January 28, 2019
India captain Virat Kohli seemed contended with the 25-year old cricketer’s performance on his comeback. Speaking during the post-match press conference, Kohli said that Pandya will be looked up to for ‘important contribution’ and ‘proving balance’ to the squad.
“Good to have him [Hardik Pandya] back. Today too he bowled good areas which showed he has worked on his skills. If you respect the game, it will reward you back. I hope and believe that Hardik will come out as a better cricketer.
“He put his head down and focused on what he needed to do, you can tell from the way he bowled. He is someone who will make important contribution over all. He is someone who provides a lot of balance to the team,” Kohli was quoted as saying of Pandya.