Traditionally Indians have produced one of the greatest batsmen worlds of cricket has ever seen. Right from Hazare, Merchant to Gavaskar, Tendulkar, Dravid, Sehwag and now to Kohli and MS Dhoni there hasn’t been an era when Indian team did not have one of the world’s top batsmen. Spinners too came in quality and in heaps. But it is the lack of fast bowlers, especially fast bowling all rounders has hurt India the most. Kapil Dev was the last great fast bowling all rounder India had.
In between, there were many bits and pieces cricketers India tried, only to scrap them after realizing they ain’t got what it takes to make it big at international level. However, the prolonged hunt for seam bowling all rounder was ended by the emergence of Hardik Pandya. Pandya is the cleanest striker of the ball who possesses tremendous power and unlike many others of his type generates serious pace with the ball. He is definitely the one India should invest more in future.
It was a 10 January 2016 afternoon in Vadodara. Delhi was playing the home team in Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Batting first Baroda lost an early wicket and in walked Hardik at 3. He held the innings together while he was running out of partners at the other end. Just as it seemed Baroda were going to manage below par total Hardik started to explode. He smashed 34 runs off Akash Sudan’s over. Baroda managed a competitive 153 with Hardik contributing 81.
In the post match interview, Hardik said, “We were 60 for 6 after 12 overs. Then our score was 93 after 18 overs. I had to target him [Sudan]. I was not expecting to get nearly 40 runs,”
“My expectation was to get a couple of sixes. I just went with the flow. I guess it is a record in domestic T20,” he said with a chuckle.
– by Atharva Apte