Hardik Pandya, who bagged the man of the match award on his debut in the first ODI in Dharamsala, will enjoy the freedom to bat and bowl without having to worry about following ‘definite plans’, India coach Anil Kumble said on Wednesday. Pandya shared the new-ball with Umesh Yadav and had taken three wickets to leave New Zealand tottering at 5 for 48. The all-rounder can give the ODI unit the right balance, the coach believed.
“He is someone who gives us the right balance because not only can he bowl but he can bowl at a decent pace as well. He really bowled well in the first game with the new ball and that is something MS (Dhoni) wanted Hardik to try. He came off with the Man of the Match in his first game and that should give him a lot of confidence,” Kumble said.
The team has been searching for an all-rounder who is not a flash in the pan and can consistently contribute and Kumble feels Hardik has shown the potential in the limited opportunities he has got. “Like I mentioned, all-rounders who can run in and bowl quick and also bat are certainly an asset. He has the potential and has showed his potential in the limited opportunities he has got. With him giving us seven to 8 overs and sometimes 10, it gives us the balance.”
Kumble said that the team’s approach would be to allow Hardik to play with complete freedom because it was too early to burden the 23-year-old with expectations. For someone who is starting his international career we don’t want to burden him with definite plans or tell him what is expected of him. Hardik can bowl with freedom. The moment you put pressure it does not work. The same is with the batting. He has all the freedom to play the way he wants to play rather than how you want him to play.”