India might have lost the three-match One-day International series in Australia but the biggest positive to have emerged out from an otherwise forgettable rubber is the manner in which Hardik Pandya has batted. Prior to the series, there were a lot of questions around Hardik’s place in the 50-over side, given the fact that he is playing as a specialist batsman.
But during the course of the last week or so, the swashbuckling all-rounder has put all the doubts among his detractors to rest courtesy of a whirlwind yet mature display with the bat. Pandya has always been associated with slam-bang cameos but in this series, fans saw a mature side of the swashbuckler.
Pandya mixed caution with aggression to brilliant effect in the first ODI at the Sydney Cricket Ground where he smoked a 76-ball 92. It was an innings where we not only saw clean hitting from the Mumbai Indians all-rounder, we also witnessed him rotating the strike brilliantly besides picking his spots and the bowlers that he needed to go against.
Pandya struggled for timing in the second game as he managed a 31-ball 28 but he was right on the money in the succeeding game at the Manuka Oval at Canberra, where he, along with Ravindra Jadeja not only pulled their team out of the rut but also timed his assault to perfection to stroke an unbeaten 76-ball 92 as India compiled 5/302 in 50 overs.
Pandya will finish the ODI series as the leading run-getter for India and following his latest assault, the talented all-rounder has come in for rich praise from the fans as well as the cricketing fraternity.
And, probably the biggest accolade on Tuesday came from one of the greatest white-ball batsman of all time in Michael Bevan. Bevan went to comment on an Instagram post of the International Cricket Council where he wrote- ”Love watching Pandya play”