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I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can’t become Ben Stokes for India, says Virat Kohli

India cricket team captain Virat Kohli was particularly impressed with Hardik Pandya's use of the short ball in the second innings and the speed at which he bowled right through his spell.

By: Express Web Desk | Galle | Published: July 29, 2017 11:04:20 pm
Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya, Ben Stokes, India vs Sri Lanka, Cricket, Indian Express Hardik Pandya scored a brisk fifty in his debut Test innings for the Indian cricket team. (Source: Reuters)

India captain Virat Kohli feels all-rounder Hardik Pandya has the required skill-set to excel in all formats for the team. Kohli said Pandya can do what Ben Stokes does for England – provide balance.

“I have a lot of faith in him (Hardik) as far as any format is concerned. If he grows in confidence – you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England, brings in great balance as an all-rounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can’t become that for India,” Kohli said at the post- match press conference.

Kohli praised Pandya’s brisk fifty lower down the order in the first innings and the effort with the ball, in the second innings, when there wasn’t much for the bowlers.

“In the first innings, he didn’t get opportunity to bowl much but I think in the second innings, he bowled really nicely on a wicket that wasn’t offering much and he kept it in the right areas,” said Kohli.

The skipper was particularly impressed with Pandya’s use of the short ball and the speed at which he bowled right through his spell.

“He used the bouncer well. He bowls around 135, so he is a great asset and I have mentioned this before as well,” he said.

Kohli felt Pandya’s innings gave the time quick and crucial runs. The skipper didn’t shy away from lavishing more praise and termed his fielding as “tremendous”.

“We would have been 540-550 in the first innings. He got those 50 runs quickly and that saves you time as well. That gives you another 15 overs to bowl at the opposition. And his fielding is also tremendous.”

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