Former India coach Lalchand Rajput has claimed that Hardik Pandya is the ideal all-rounder for team India since the departure of legendary Kapil Dev. In the first ODI of the five-match series Pandya had hit a match-winning 83 of 66 balls. His innings drew a lot of applause from the cricketing fraternity, as the latest to join the fray is 55-year-old Lalchand Rajput.
In an interview with the PTI, Rajput said, “Hardik Pandya is an exceptional cricketer. The talent he has got, I have seen him at the NCA (National Cricket Academy) and then he was with me at the Zonal Camp (ZCA). He has got tremendous talent. He is an ideal all-rounder after Kapil Dev.”
“Because his batting is excellent, he can play in all formats. Earlier, people used to say he is good in a shorter version, but in a Test match also he can turn the game. He took the first game away from the Australians in Chennai”, he further added.
Commenting on his batting, Rajput said, “He can clear boundaries at will and that’s the hallmark of a good batsman. His bowling is good and he is an outstanding fielder. He has the ingredients to be the next Kapil Dev. But still he has to perform upto a level to attain Kapil’s stature. But certainly, he has it in him to be the all-rounder that the Indian team was looking at”.
Recalling a domestic camp where Rajput had seen Hardik a few years back, the former India manager said Pandya always had an inclination to hit the ball. “And he (Hardik) just loved (to hit the ball) it. And get out. Now he has become matured. I always used to tell him proper shot selection will take you higher. The more he plays, he is getting more matured and becoming a reliable lower-order batsman,” he said.
Meanwhile, one the ongoing series between India and Australia Rajput said, “Australians are tough nuts to crack but we (India) have got the momentum. The Indian team is playing top-class cricket and it is difficult to beat them,” said Rajput, who was the Cricket Manager, when India won the inaugural T20 World Cup.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines