Cheteshwar Pujara hails ‘outstanding’ Hardik Pandya after Cape Town heroics
Cheteshwar Pujara hailed Hardik Pandya’s heroics after the all-rounders efforts with both bat and ball helped India fight back against South Africa in the Cape Town TestUpdated: Jan 06, 2018 23:52 IST
India batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara praised Hardik Pandya’s whirlwind knock, saying his presence will allow the team combination to be more balanced. Pandya scored a 95-ball 93 to guide India to 209 in reply to South Africa’s first innings score of 286. (SA v IND 1st Test, Day 2 HIGHLIGHTS | SCORECARD)
“He batted really well, showed a lot of character. He hasn’t played many Test matches away from home but the kind of innings (he played) we expected it from him if he played in the playing XI,” said Pujara. “I think if someone who is very promising, he is batting well, bowling well, it makes a lot of difference to the team because when you have a very good all-rounder, it balances your team combination. I hope he continues with this.”
Pujara revealed Pandya’s knock had a positive effect on the dressing room. “I think everyone did believe that he can play such innings, and once he played that the environment in the dressing room was quite positive because those runs were very important for the team, kept us in the game. If he hadn’t scored those runs, we would have been under trouble. So I think he kept us in the game and got us two wickets also at the end of day’s play. So his performance was outstanding,” said Pujara.
Pandya’s attacking innings was completely different from that of the rest of the top order batsmen, especially Pujara and Rohit who were forced to grind out a difficult morning session. But Pujara said not every batsman has to go the attacking way.
“I think it was a case of him (Pandya) playing his natural game. He is someone who likes to play his shots. That’s how he would bat in any situation. This was the ideal situation for him to express himself and I have seen I think the moment he tries playing his shots he has been successful. We have seen that against Sri Lanka as well. When he started playing his shots he was a different player altogether. That’s how he should be playing and this is what makes him a different player from a top order batsman,” he said.