Soon after Hardik Pandya played a blitzkrieg against Pakistan in the final of the Champions Trophy, social media went berserk hailing the maverick like innings by the all-rounder.
Hardik who scored 76 runs in only 43 balls clearly won hearts with his performance that met a tragic end in the middle. Even as India surrendered in the middle to Pakistan, Hardik Pandya gave a glimpse of what he has on offer in the coming years for Indian cricket.
Hardik hit 4 fours and 6 sixes at a strike rate of 176.74 in that final against Pakistan. He had twice hit a hat-trick of sixes in the tournament, both against Pakistan only to suggest, he can punch above his weight when the situation demands.
Hardik Pandya is a rare breed in Indian cricket. Someone who is fast, fit and furious. Hardik Pandya is an agile and exceptional fielder, an impact bowler (who can clock over 140 KPH) and a dangerous batsman who can hit sixes at will. What more does a team require in their no.6 player?
Hardik Pandya the perfect all-rounder
By the end of the Champions, Trophy Hardik made a splash by creating a few records in the middle. Not many may have realized in the Indian defeat that Hardik walked with a few honors as well. Pandya hit 10 sixes in the Champions Trophy, the most by any player in CT 17, He capped off the best strike rate at 194.44. Pandya blasted his way to the fastest fifty in the tournament with a 32 ball half century in the final and he also showed his strength after he muscled one ball into the stands for the longest six of Champions Trophy 2017.
It comes as no surprise that Pandya will soon become a regular fixture for India in the longer format of the game and after having won the trust and confidence of his skipper Virat Kohli, one thing is certain, the all-rounder will be Kohli’s go-to man in the coming years.
Hardik Pandya is Kohli’s, go-to man
In the Champions Trophy, it was evident that Kohli had a role and place for Pandya in the team. So much so that, Kohli went on record saying, Hardik Pandya, was a “priceless” player who can provide “a match-winning performance in any game he plays,” according to Virat Kohli.
“I would back a guy like Hardik who provides you so much balance in conditions that he can be effective as a bowler and his batting is priceless,” Kohli said. “If you’re chasing a total and you need eight and over and you’ve lost wickets, he’s a guy who can still win you the game. He can give you a match-winning performance in any game that he plays. As a fielder, as well. It’s very hard to find a package like that.
“That’s the kind of belief he has in his ability and we have that belief in him. You need to back guys like him on a regular basis and you will get those results where the team is in crisis and he stands up and gives a match-winning performance.
“So far he’s been really good in the tournament. When he bowls well, it’s a total relief for me as a captain because he can get you seven good overs. He can get you a couple of wickets, as well, and then with the bat and the field, we know what he can do.
Hardik did not disappoint his captain and truly lived up to his expectations with some brilliant performance during the business end of the Champions Trophy. In the coming years, Kohli will turn to his mercurial all-rounder to do the job for the team.