Team India’s young all-rounder Hardik Pandya has come a long way since making his ODI debut in October last year.
While he showcased his immense potential in his very first game by bagging the Man of the Match award, he is probably seen as a utility player who could chip in with both bat and ball when the team needed. However, within a year, Hardik has become an indispensable part of the Indian team across all the formats.
In July, he made an unexpected debut in Tests and went on to prove his detractors wrong by slamming a quickfire fifty in his maiden Test. Two matches later, he announced his arrival at the highest stage of the game with a stunning 96-ball 108 runs knock including 8 fours and 7 sixes which not only earned him his maiden Man of the Match award in Tests but also paved the way for India’s thumping win.
Prior to the Test series in Sri Lanka, Hardik impressed everyone with his explosive batting in the Champions Trophy final against Pakistan, smashing 76 off just 43 balls with the help of 4 fours and 6 sixes including three consecutive ones off Shadab Khan.
Recently, he further elevated his stature as one of the most exciting talents in the world right now with an outstanding all-round performance in the first ODI against Australia.
After walking to bat when India was reeling at 87 for 5, he scored 83 off 66 balls with the help of 5 fours and as many sixes before taking two wickets including the prized scalp of Steve Smith as India won the series-opener by 21 runs (DLS method). His impressive allround performances have made many compare him with England star Ben Stokes who is arguably the best allrounder in the world right now.
However, Fazeela Saba, Pakistani sports anchor, is one of the handful of people who are yet to be impressed by the 23-year-old as she took to Twitter to give her views on Pandya’s comparisons with Stokes.
“Pandy (Pandya) undoubtedly is the upcoming multitasked player in cricket but his comparison with Ben Stokes by Indian media seems unjustified,” she tweeted.