Hardik Pandya made an impressive comeback to the Indian team after being suspended for his controversial comments on a popular television talk show. While he did not get a chance to bat, he managed to leave a big impression with the ball and his fielding. He was economical in the middle-overs, picked up two crucial wickets and took a blinder to send back opposition captain Kane Williamson as India won the third ODI to win the ongoing five-match series.
The performance had once again made skipper Virat Kohli reiterate that Pandya adds the balance in the team. And now chief selector MSK Prasad has also reiterated Kohli’s sentiments, saying that Pandya ‘adds huge strength to the team’s balance.
“Hardik Pandya definitely adds huge strength to the team’s balance. He brings in that additional strength to all three departments (batting, bowling and fielding). He has an abundance of talent, which he needs to realise and convert into match-winning performances,” Prasad said in an interview with Cricbuzz.
Pandya, meanwhile, failed to do anything substantial in the fourth ODI. He managed to score just 16 runs while going wicketless for 15 runs as New Zealand thrashed India by 8 wickets. Bowling first, the Kiwis rode on their pace-spearhead Trent Boult’s 5 for 21 to bowl out India for just 92 before chasing down the total without breaking any sweat. Pandya will be looking to impress again when India and New Zealand lock horns in the fifth and final ODI on Sunday.
Prasad also gave an insight on how the selection committee has developed a healthy rapport with the team-managements.
“The team management and the selection committee have built a wonderful rapport in the last couple of years. We do have a few odd differences but at the end of the day, we stand united and take responsibility for the outcome,” he said.
“The selection committee, team management and Rahul Dravid have built healthy systems of monitoring the progress of players from domestic levels to India A, and from there to the senior Indian team. Because of this combined grooming process, the players don’t feel overawed when they are thrown on to the bigger stage,” he added.