Former Indian wicketkeeper Saba Karim has heaped high praise on Hardik Pandya, stating that the swashbuckling batsman is a difficult customer to bowk to due to his ability to hit strokes all around the park.
Hardik Pandya has impinged himself as one of the most dangerous white-ball batsmen of the modern era. Pandya’s ability to hit good balls is what makes him such an asset for Team India in the death overs.
The Baroda all-rounder has been in brilliant form ever since he made his comeback to competitive cricket last year following a long layoff due to injury.
After playing some brilliant cameos in the IPL, Hardik carried his form to Australia where he was easily India’s best batsman during both ODI and T20I series. Pandya smashed two brilliant fifties in the ODI series [210 runs in 3 games] and backed it up with a match-winning heist in the second T20I [42* off 22 balls] to help India nail down the target of 195. He was eventually named the ‘Player of the Series’
During a discussion on India News, Saba Karim pointed out that Hardik Pandya has increased his repertoire of strokes and that has made him more dangerous than ever.
“From the last one year I have seen a change in his batting, his scoring areas or range has increased. He can play brilliant shots on the off-side as well. It is very difficult to control this player and especially in the end overs, whatever you might try, whether it is the slower one, yorker, short delivery, his range is so big that he can play a shot from anywhere and increase his strike rate,” said Saba Karim.
“Hardik Pandya is already a star, especially in the shorter formats. Whenever he has got an opportunity, whether it is in the IPL for the Mumbai Indians or for the Indian team, he has performed. His strike rate has been extremely high in the match-winning knocks he has played and because of that he is such an incredible player,” added Karim.
Hardik may be a swashbuckler and a fierce hitter of a cricket ball but he ain’t a slogger, noted Saba Karim, who added that the all-rounder plays conventional cricketing shots.
“The bigger thing is that he plays conventional cricketing shots. You don’t get to see too much improvisation. He doesn’t play high-risk shots and plays shots according to his strengths,” said Karim.
Karim also added that Hardik does not have any real weakness against any kind of bowling, be it spinners or fast bowlers.
“The opposition always thinks what sort of bowler should be used, spinner or pacer, who can prove to be a weakness for Hardik Pandya. But you don’t see any such weakness in this player because of which it remains a big area of concern in the opposition camp about which bowler to use to target him because he is known to play brilliant shots against all bowlers and we are seeing those shots in his batting,” concluded Karim.
Hardik Pandya will be back in action this week as India gets ready to hosts England in eight white-ball internationals [5 T20Is + 3 ODIs]. The all-rounder is one of the key assets for Team India during the death overs and the fact that he is slated to resume bowling will give the home side an added dimension, something that they sorely missed in Australia.