Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar heaped praises on all-rounder Hardik Pandya after his glorious knock of 90 against Australia in the first ODI in Sydney on Friday. Hardik Pandya, who batted at number six, took the fight to Australia in a steep chase of 375 but despite that, fell significantly short of the target. But Sanjay Manjrekar feels excited by the prospect of seeing the 26-year old coming at number six.
Hardik Pandya came to the crease when India found itself at 101-4 in the 14th over of their innings. Along with Shikhar Dhawan, he revived the innings with a 128-run stand and played some confident shots in a 75-ball knock. The Baroda born all-rounder clattered seven boundaries and four towering sixes to post the highest ODI score of his career. He justified the management’s faith who picked him over a pure batsman in Manish Pandey.
Sanjay Manjrekar admitted he was in two minds initially since they have not seen Hardik Pandya as a pure batsman previously; however, after Monday, there was plenty of promise. Manjrekar recalled Virender Sehwag’s words about the batsmen fulfilling the number six role in the past like Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, and MS Dhoni. However, amongst the present options, Pandya proved himself as an exciting one and the former Mumbai batsman wants him to do well in this position regularly.
“I was a little skeptical as we haven’t seen Hardik Pandya, the pure batsman in the past. But after today, there is a lot of promise. Virender Sehwag made a good point about his competitions. In 50-overs cricket, we would be talking about Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant. MS Dhoni used to play that kind of role. Among the options we have, he is an exciting one now after the promise he showed. Obviously, we want him to do this fairly regularly,” Sanjay Manjrekar told Sony Six.
There was clarity and there was sense in the way he batted: Sanjay Manjrekar
Sanjay Manjrekar underlined that Hardik Pandya at number six would indeed intimidate the opposition, making the captain excited to have him in the side. The 53-year old was also impressed by Hardik Panyda’s calculated risk-taking and did it when the spinners came on. Manjrekar felt awed at seeing Hardik having a clear role within the side.
“When you see Hardik Pandya with the kind of ability that he showed today, you’ll be excited as a captain that you have him at No. 6. As an opposition, you’ll be slightly wary of Hardik Pandya at No. 6. He showed a lot of clarity. He didn’t take a lot of risks against the fast bowler and when the spinners came one, the big game came on. There was clarity and there was sense in the way he batted. I am very impressed. I must confess, I was a little surprised to see this side of Hardik Pandya because I haven’t seen this part in white-ball cricket,” he added.