The Curious Case Of Hardik Pandya: The star that is burning out – With the new brand of cricketers slowly taking the mantle from the ones who led the charge in the last decade, there will be several ups and downs with the former being seldom while the latter being aplenty.
However, a player who once was embossed in the golden colours, when he fades away, that is something which just doesn’t go down easy. It hurts and it keeps on hurting until either the player has burnt out completely and only the memory remains or there has been an identification of the conundrum and possible answers are being sought to solve it.
Hardik Pandya is one such conundrum at the moment. A man who was supposed to be one of the finest all-rounders of the world is slowly ebbing away like the setting sun with scattered and fragmented rays currently surrounding it.
It is not possible to stop a setting sun but a sun that sets also rises the next day. Hope remains. Maybe Hardik has lost his touch and is desperately clinging onto the last bit of sunlight that remains but he has several rays surrounding him with the promise of a new dawn.
As Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma come to the fore, they will have to choose what exactly they want from the all-rounder. He is a fine cricketer and undoubtedly one of the best that India had to offer.
However, when injuries came knocking, Hardik Pandya didn’t even resist. When he returned, he had a separate role assigned to him where he proliferated handsomely, however, once again hoping to play a dual role, he over-strained himself and ended up being cooped in the shell of darkness.
The first and foremost thing that would set Pandya back on course is the specification of the role. Either the Indian cricket team will need him as an all-rounder or a proper batsman. There is no swinging between both ways. The constant change in demands dents one’s mindset and practice.
We have seen how Steven Smith gave up bowling completely to become the best batter in the world. With India’s middle-order in shambles, Pandya can be used as a proper batter who can bolster the ranks and given his expertise can play a few long-standing knocks.
Pandya’s biggest advantage is that he can accelerate at will. That factor takes out the question of him taking time to set in. It is well known once he gets his eyes in, it is sheer destruction from there. The name of Glenn Maxwell rings a bell?
Secondly, if Hardik Pandya is needed as an all-rounder, it is wise if he turns his attention to being a proper bowler and focuses less on batting as his job will to be rack up a few useful runs in the tail and that is already being done by him. However, the question is with his back injury being recurring, how fit he is to continue with his bowling, that is a question mark.
Thirdly, he will need some tough love because we have seen icons of the sport losing themselves to attitude issues and given the fact that Pandya is already in the news for all the wrong reasons, it emits a vibe that would bear alarming signs.
Maybe if Dravid can be tough enough to make it clear, if he is not thinking straight, the doors of the Indian cricket team may close forever on his face, especially with Venkatesh Iyer on the rise, Pandya may have a hint of how deep is going to sink.
Rohit Sharma has always brought out the best in the Indian captain but it is a fun fact that it was in the IPL, a tournament that has seen a lot of players who have flopped in the international circuit come out as beasts.
Now with Sharma being the skipper of the national side in the shorter versions of the game, it will be interesting to see how he manages to navigate the impenetrable mazes that have surrounded Pandya.
To be candid, if the downfall is not arrested soon, Hardik Pandya will just be a blazing memory with a few good knocks and sad literature with comparisons against some Greek god in the pantheon, not something great that he was destined to be. Let the story that will be written on Hardik Pandya bear the caption, the Giant Killer not something like the God who could not make past the initial trap of the Devil.