Former India batsman, Aakash Chopra opines that Hardik Pandya has the capability to score a century in ODI cricket if he bats up the order where he can get enough balls. The right-hander bats at number 6 in India’s ODI team after the wicket-keeper at 5.
Hardik has been phenomenal with the bat since the IPL 2020 where his finishes contributed significantly to Mumbai Indians’ title victory; later he continued that form to Australia – bagging the Man of the Series award in the T20s – and then against England. In 44 ODI innings, he averages 34.24 at a terrific strike rate of 117.31 but doesn’t have any century to his name yet with the best score of 92*.
“Hardik Pandya seems like a proper batsman to me now, honestly. I don’t see him as an all-rounder or finisher at all. If you bat him up the order, he will score a century as well if he gets enough balls,” Aakash Chopra said while speaking with Star Sports.
“If you see his shots today, nine out of ten times you will see cricketing shots, and wherever he tries to hit the ball, he has prepared so well for those shots that his execution in amazingly good,” he added.
He updated his batting software when he was injured: Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra points out that since Hardik was not fit enough to bowl earlier, he compensated for that skill by adding improving his batting. Owing to his back injury, the right-hander didn’t ball a single ball in the IPL last year, and bowled little in Australia; fortunately, in the T20Is against England, he played as a proper fifth bowler.
The 43-year-old speaks about Pandya’s scintillating 44-ball 64-run knock in the 3rd ODI against England. Aakash Chopra says that had the swashbuckling batsman stayed till the end India would have been closing in on 400.
“Four wickets had fallen at one time. When KL Rahul got out, it seemed the innings had floundered. The way he batted after that, he has the strength, he updated his batting software when he was injured. He has started playing like a proper batsman.
“There is a specific game plan that he will go deep inside the crease against fast bowlers and keep his weight forward despite that, so that he is not off-position while playing the shots.
“He has been consistently scoring runs, whether it is spin or fast bowling and was actually upset that he got out at the wrong time. If he had kept on playing, 390 was also possible,” Aakash Chopra believes.