Indian captain Virat Kohli is undoubtedly fortunate to have a game-changer in Hardik Pandya. Hardik Pandya enjoyed a stellar white-ball leg in Australia, regularly playing innings of substance and winning games for India. Nevertheless, Virat Kohli has ruled the possibility of the all-rounder playing as a specialist batsman in Test cricket and instead need him to bowl too.
Hardik Pandya clattered two half-centuries across all white-ball matches in Australia – both of which came in the ODI series. The 27-year old scored 90 and 92 in the first and third ODI, respectively; however, it was the latter that resulted in a winning cause. Nevertheless, it was in the second T20 international that saw Pandya at his brutal best, slamming 42 off 22 balls to ace a steep chase of 195 to win the series.
Virat Kohli acknowledged that Hardik Pandya has been outstanding and admitted that his back injury has not allowed him to bowl regularly, which he needs to so he could slot in the Test team. The 32-year old reckons that having the skill to bowl brings plenty of balance to the side and Pandya wants to get into the bowling space too.
“He’s been outstanding. He couldn’t bowl and we knew he’s not going to bowl. We need him to bowl. That’s when he becomes that one guy who brings a lot of balance for us. He himself wants to get back into the bowling space and be available as a pure all-rounder in tests, which becomes way more important. Over five days, you need a little extra from a player in that role. So he understands that and is working really hard to come back,” Kohli said after the third T20 international.
If I feel great I’ll definitely play: Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli, whose innings of 85 in 61 balls in the third T20 international against Australia went in vain, conceded that he would play the second warm-up match in Sydney if he in good space. Kohli added that when he believes switching between formats is something he could do, he is in the right headspace.
“If I feel great I’ll definitely play. When I get into a good headspace, I feel like I can play and switch between formats. I’m in the right headspace,” the right-handed batsman added.
The day and night warm-up match at Sydney is the final one before the pink-ball Test in Adelaide from the 17th of December. The first practice match for India against Australia A ended in a draw – the highlight being the centuries from Ajinkya Rahane and Cameron Green.