Former Indian opener-turned commentator Aakash Chopra has lavished high praise on Indian swashbuckler Hardik Pandya following the all-rounder’s whirlwind exploits in the recently-concluded One-day International series against Australia.
Hardik Pandya’s emergence as an ODI batsman was one of the biggest positives for Team India from an otherwise forgettable series. Pandya has always been associated with brute power and clean hitting and while we got to see that to the hilt during the three ODIs, we also saw a matured side to the Baroda all-rounder.
Pandya picked the bowlers against whom he wanted to attack and paced his innings as per the demands of the game situation. After having scored a brilliant 90 in the first game, the all-rounder smashed an unbeaten 92 in the final ODI and along with Ravindra Jadeja stitched an eventual match-winning total of 5-302.
”Hardik Pandya was absolutely sensational and so was Ravindra Jadeja. They were outstanding. It seems Hardik Pandya’s batting software has got upgraded since he left bowling. Hardik Pandya is batting as per the demands of the situation. He plays defensively at the start and after that bats aggressively.” Aakash Chopra said in a video on his official Youtube channel.
“He picks the bowlers. Earlier he used to pick the spinners only but now he even hits the fast bowlers in a democratic fashion. He is growing in stature and how,” he added.
”He actually deserved a century”- Aakash Chopra on Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya was eventually adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ and Aakash Chopra also went on to pick the Baroda all-rounder for the same, adding that given the kind of knock that he played, he actually deserved a century.
“Ravindra Jadeja is a candidate, Shardul Thakur is the other candidate and the third one is Hardik Pandya. I am going with Hardik because if he had not scored those runs, this game was over as India was already five down.” Chopra said.
“He actually deserved a century. In fact, he has been outstanding throughout the series. He has done exceedingly well and he is just claiming a spot as a batsman.” he added.
The former Indian opener further added that it is heartening to see the maturity and game-awareness that Hardik Pandya displayed during the series. He also went on to hail Hardik as an inspiration given the manner he has managed to evolve himself into a specialist batsman in the absence of his second skill.
“It is heartening to see the maturity, calmness and awareness Hardik Pandya is showing as a batsman. I am so so happy for Hardik for the chart of his growth. Just keep getting better. You are an inspiration in a sense. You were bowling, which was snatched away from you because of the fitness problems. You made the one skill so good that you are able to make a place in the Indian team as a batsman. I mean outstanding, Hardik.” Chopra signed off.
Hardik Pandya finished as India’s leading run-getter- 210 runs in three innings at an average of 105 and a strike-rate of 114.75.
Hardik Pandya….loved the maturity with which he’s controlled the innings. Twice in three games now. Batting software has been upgraded significantly… ?? #AusvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 2, 2020