Hardik Pandya remains India’s key asset despite Cape Town loss vs South Africa
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Hardik Pandya remains India’s key asset despite Cape Town loss vs South Africa

Hardik Pandya performed magnificently in the Cape Town Test against South Africa with good performances with both bat and ball but India lost the Test by 72 runs to go 0-1 down in the series.

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2018 16:44 IST
HT Correspondent
Hardik Pandya,South Africa vs India,Cape Town
Hardik Pandya (L) was one of India’s best performers in the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town.(AFP)

Hardik Pandya stood tall amid the ruins in India’s 72-run loss to South Africa in Cape Town. The 24-year-old all-rounder smashed 93 off 95 balls on a pitch that was assisting fast bowlers and picked up three wickets at crucial times.

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In his knock of 93, Pandya displayed his aggression and fearlessness against a South African attack that consisted of Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander and Kagiso Rabada. His knock and his 99-run stand with Bhuvneshwar Kumar helped India recover from 92/7 to be all out for 209. However, India were undone by a magnificent spell of 6/42 from Vernon Philander to go 0-1 down in the series.

Following the loss, Pandya took to Twitter to express his disappointment and said India would put up a better show in the next Test at Centurion, starting on January 13.

Pandya’s fearless batting and consistent bowling continues his magnificent rise in Indian cricket since making his Test debut in the series against Sri Lanka in July-August 2017. In his maiden series, he smashed fifty on debut while in his third Test, he blasted 108 off 96 balls, including eight fours and seven sixes to help India sweep Sri Lanka 3-0.

The Baroda all-rounder’s performances have resulted in comparisons with Kapil Dev, India’s legendary all-rounder. During a function in Chandigarh recently, the 1983 World Cup-winning captain said Pandya takes on the challenge. “Despite being 24 and an amateur in Test innings, he did not succumb to pressure. He has his own style and approach. Let’s not put pressure on Pandya by making comparisons. He is doing a fine job with the ball and bat for the Indian team,” Kapil stated.

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Even Sachin Tendulkar, speaking to Hindustan Times, termed Pandya an asset. “Pandya is an asset who can bowl 17-18 overs and is perfectly capable of scoring runs at No 7 or 8. This is going to be Pandya’s biggest series and Virat will be banking on him,” Tendulkar said.

Pandya’s aggression will be the boost India need if they are to bounce back in the three-Test series.

First Published: Jan 09, 2018 16:40 IST