Hardik Pandya just made his Test debut for the Indian team and started off his first ever innings with a quick fire half-century. He was able to bat with the lower order batsmen and shepherd them till India reached a competitive total of 600 runs.
Pandya’s stock has been rising for a while now and if he continues this way, he will be a great asset for the team. Here are five reasons Kohli could really do with Pandya at the moment:
He is a powerful hitter:
Though Test cricket requires batsmen to take their time and try to negate the opposition bowlers, there are times when a big-hitter is needed. Just like the situation in today’s game, India will need batsmen who can go at the bowlers and hit boundaries at will. Hardik Pandya displays that facet so well and could be just what India need.
He has already shown his pedigree in limited overs cricket and is slowly maturing into a great all-rounder. It won’t be long before he can display his best attributes.
He can be the next bowling all-rounder:
It is hard to classify Pandya as a bowling or a batting all-rounder because he does both his jobs well. Though he is still raw and learning at the highest level, the Indian team are in desperate need of a genuine all-rounder.
Though Ashwin and Jadeja are good all-rounders, they do not possess the ability that Pandya does. If he is able to continue pulling out performances like this, India could add that extra batsman and get an edge.
He is the perfect floater:
The Indian team lacks a good floater in the squad as most of the batsmen are set in their positions. Sure, Rahane can bat up the order but lower down, he could prove to be a hassle. Pandya can solve that issue and let Rahane stay where he is.
He can come up the order when someone is required to smash runs to catch up with a lead or chase down a score before the end of the 5th day, or he can play down the order with the tail-enders and keep India batting for the longest time. Both these attributes are very hard to have but Pandya seems to have the potential.
He can pick crucial wickets and give bowlers a rest:
The batting aspect of Pandya’s game has been analysed but his bowling too, is getting better day by day. The more experience he has at this level, the easier it is for him to sharpen his bowling prowess and pick up important wickets.
Pandya is a good bowling option to have when the main ones aren’t ticking. He can give them that breathing space and bowl a spell of a few overs. He can also pick up a few wickets on a good track and this is something that any team can do with, especially India.
His fielding ability is brilliant:
Test matches require concentration and an ability to pluck catches from nowhere. That special ability to dive around at any time of the day is crucial when a batsman is in top form as those opportunities will come only once or twice.
Pandya is an elite fielder who can produce moments of magic on the field that can raise spirits and change the course of the game in an instant. He is shaping up to be a quality all-rounder and with the right attitude, he could be a great player for years to come.
Pandya’s presence allows Kohli to play with an extra batsman
In overseas conditions, India like to play an extra batsman but because of the absence of an all-rounder they have struggled to find the right combination. Pandya can be a very effective bowler in overseas condition and, as we all know, he can bat, too. His presence in the playing XI will allow Kohli to play with a combination that is more suited to the condition, outside the Asian sub-continent.
By Rohit Nair