Hardik Pandya announced his arrival to Test Cricket in the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka with a stunning century in the third and the final Test at Kandy. During his knock off 108, he hit 26 runs in an over off Malinda Pushpakumara. This is the most runs hit by an Indian batsman in an over in Test Cricket.
“The regulars have performed, but the biggest positive would be Hardik’s inclusion and the way he shaped up in these three Test matches,” said Indian skipper Virat Kohli in the post-match presentation.
The 23-year-old Baroda youngster has been the talk of the town ever since he made his debut in IPL in 2015 but, many former players have been critical about Pandya’s inclusion in the Test squad. However, it took Pandya only three matches to prove them wrong.
What makes Hardik Pandya incredibly special?
- Batting prowess – Hardik Pandya is one of those very few cricketers in India who can send the ball over the fence with sheer power. In Pandya’s IPL debut season, he clubbed Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowlers for an 8-ball 21 when 30 runs were needed off 21 balls. This knock made him an instant hero and gave him the much coveted ‘Finisher’ tag.
- Bowling woes – It is impossible to forget his final over against Bangladesh in 2016 T20 World Cup, but there is no hiding the fact that Pandya’s bowling still has a long way to go. His bowling will play in a crucial role in overseas tours where India cannot afford to play two spinners.
- Flying Superman – As Chief Selector MSK Prasad quoted, he is athletic, exuberant and very positive in his attitude. He is often seen taking stunners for India and Mumbai Indians in the deep mid-wicket fence.
With the staggering ability to hit the ball long, bowl serious pace and take blinders in the deep – Hardik Pandya is truly the pace bowling all-rounder that India were searching for a long time since Kapil Dev’s departure. After a long home season (13 matches), India are scheduled for a long overseas tours in the coming years and Pandya will play the crucial role of bringing the balance to the side.