Former India cricketer, Aakash Chopra has lauded Hardik Pandya after his swashbuckling innings against Australia in the first ODI on Friday in Sydney. Pandya smashed the Aussie bowlers during his 90-run entertaining knock.
Chasing a huge target of 375, after a confident start, India slipped to 101-4. Hardik Pandya joined opener Shikhar Dhawan in the middle, and the duo added 128 runs in 21 overs. Both the batsman departed in the space of 4 overs, and so did whatever little hope the Indian fans had.
Hardik is more than capable of playing as a pure batsman: Aakash Chopra
In a video uploaded on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra started by pointing out that Hardik Pandya was playing this game just as a batsman at number 6, as the right-hander couldn’t bowl owing to his back injury.
Aakash Chopra was impressed by Hardik’s batting during the IPL, and against Australia, as he opined that Hardik is more than capable of batting as a pure batsman. The cricketer-turned-commentator felt that other batsmen struggled against short balls, Hardik Pandya didn’t.
In his YouTube video, Aakash Chopra said, “Hardik Pandya was playing this encounter as a batsman and will be playing the future matches as well as a batsman. How many times does a pure batsman get to bat at No.6? Hardik Pandya got that chance and he showed that he is more than capable of playing as a pure batsman with the way he bats. The others got lives and were struggling a little against the short ball but not Hardik.”
He added that the Gujarat-born batsman played the short pitch deliveries well and attacked the spinners. The former opener said that Hardik might have missed the century but kept India in the game till he was batting.
The 43-year-old also made a bold prediction that if Hardik Pandya continues his form with the bat, he may soon be batting at number 5, or even number 4.
“He hit the short balls and demolished the spinners. He batted very well. He may have missed his century but till the time he was at the crease, he kept India’s hopes alive. So, it was outstanding from Hardik Pandya and it is a stamp of approval that he is more than capable as a batsman and the day is not far when he can be sent at No.5 or even at No.4,” Aakash Chopra added.
India will face Australia on Sunday at the SCG in a bid to level the series.