Hardik Pandya, the man of the moment, has said he wants to stop being compared to India’s greatest allrounder, Kapil Dev. The India all-rounder said he just wants to be Hardik Pandya after his exploits in third England vs India Test.
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Pandya shut down his critics by taking his maiden five-wicket haul on the day of the ongoing game to put India firmly on top. It took him only 29 balls to blow away England’s middle-order as India took a 168-run lead. By the time the day ended, the lead was extended to 292 with India having seven wickets in hand. Pandya is now the second-highest wicket-taker for India with eight and has the best average in the ongoing series.
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The recent performance would surely keep his critics silent at least for some time. Ever since he arrived on the scene, he drew comparisons with the legendary Kapil Dev. But his inconsistent performances also drew widespread criticism. Last week, the former West Indies fast bowler Michael Holding had severely criticised him. In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Holding had said that Pandya is not yet completely performing his role as an allrounder. He had also said that Pandya was “nowhere near” Kapil.
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Well, it took Pandya only a few days to prove his worth and now he wants the world to stop comparing him with Kapil Dev.
“The problem with this is you compare yes, but all of a sudden something goes wrong and they are like he is not that [Kapil Dev],” Pandya said. “I have never wanted to be Kapil Dev. Let me be Hardik Pandya. I am good at being Hardik Pandya, reached here till now, I have played 40 ODIs and now 10 Test matches being Hardik Pandya, not Kapil Dev. They are great in their era. Let me be Hardik Pandya. Stop comparing me with anyone. I will be happy if you don’t.”
Talking to former England captain Nasser Hussain on Sky Sports Pandya said he does not care what the critics think.
“For sure not. I will simply say one thing. Let’s not worry about me. I know what I am exactly doing. My team backs me. That’s what matters. And to be honest I don’t care what people say.”
He further said that the focus of the bowling group in the second session was to bowl full.
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“I tried to swing the ball and if you try to swing the ball you go little full. You tend to get driven. I am not afraid of getting driven because if the wickets come runs does not matter, he said.
Talking about his bowling strategy, he revealed that he did not want the batsmen to read him.
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“I feel that if I keep on bowling the same way they might get used to it,” he said. “So I always focus on using the crease or even the line where I am bowling because it is very important, it makes a huge difference. If I go wide and I bowl the same ball the batsman thinks it is coming in with the angle, but if goes out you get the opportunity of getting him out.”
Pandya dismissed England skipper Joe Root on the very first ball of his spell. The all-rounder, who has been coping criticism in recent times, did not look back and went on to demolish the English lineup.
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After going wicketless in his next two overs, he took as many as four in the next two. In his fourth over, he accounted for Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes to leave England reeling at 118 for 7. Bairstow edged one to KL Rahul at second slip while Pant took an excellent catch behind the stumps to dismiss last match’s centurion Woakes. In his fifth over, the all-rounder dismissed Adil Rashid and Stuart Broad to complete his maiden five-wicket haul in Tests.