Hardik Pandya’s rise in international cricket continues and the all-rounder is drawing praise from all quarters. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, in an interaction with India Today, said the youngster has all the qualities but the comparisons with Kapil Dev need to stop.
“Hardik Pandya has the qualities to help this Indian team but don’t compare him with Kapil Dev at the moment. Kapil Dev was an absolute champion. We will talk about it 10-15 years down the line once Pandya keeps playing that long. Let’s enjoy his cricket, he is a good cricketer, he is a positive cricketer. He’s a fighter and he has got heart when he plays cricket. That’s what you look in a young cricketer. I wish him all the best hopefully he continues to do good work for Virat Kohli,” said Ganguly.
Pandya received the man of the series award for his brilliant show with both bat and ball in India’s 4-1 ODI series win over Australia. The focus now shifts to the shortest format where the two teams will battle it out in a three-match series. Ganguly feels India will continue to be relentless.
“India completely dominated Sri Lanka and Australia. They have looked a far-far superior side in the batting and bowling departments. That has been the case for Indian cricket in the last one and a half years. Except that blip in the Champions Trophy final, they have been a remarkable side. New Zealand and Sri Lanka will come next and I think India will be relentless again. They are far superior side than those two teams,” said Ganguly.
There were some surprises in India’s squad for the three T20Is as both R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja were again rested while Ashish Nehra made a return. Ganguly hailed Nehra return and said the veteran is an “exceptional T20 bowler”.
“It’s a good news for Indian cricket that they have picked ability and not age. He is an exceptional T20 bowler. We saw him in last T20 World Cup. He is a left armer and he creates a different angle. I think he will come out with flying colours in this series as well,” said Ganguly.
Under Kohli, India have dominated in all formats and sit pretty at no.1 in both ODIs and Tests. Ganguly said Kohli has what it takes to be one of India’s great captains and the next 15 months will be very crucial for the Delhi dasher.
“Virat Kohli has got qualities of being one of India’s great captains, there’s no doubt about it. I think next 15 months will be important for him when India go to South Africa, England, Australia and the World Cup. I think he is in the right direction. He is preparing his team, he’s picking players and giving opportunities. They will beat New Zealand and Sri Lanka, there’s no doubt about it. India will be challenged when they go to South Africa but I feel this side has got the ability to do well there as well,” said Ganguly.