'I can bowl 140kph and bat': India all-rounder compares himself to Hardik Pandya | Crickit
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'I can bowl 140 kph, swing the ball both ways and also bat': India all-rounder compares himself to Hardik Pandya

By, New Delhi
Feb 24, 2023 09:12 AM IST

Any cricketer who brings to the table what Hardik does – becomes an automatic pick in the team, but while the T20I captain brings all three elements into the equation, another India all-rounder feels he can match up to Pandya's skillsets.

Ever since his second-coming in the Indian team, Hardik Pandya has evolved into a world-beating all-rounder. He has shown remarkable maturity in his batting, his fielding has improved and bowling has gained speed. Add to that his captaincy and Hardik makes for the perfect embodiment of a complete cricketer. Hardik has played some crucial knocks with the bat – such as the T20 World Cup tie against Pakistan – and not only bowled with pace but also generated swing. Returning after a near career-ending back injury, Hardik is better than ever, and that the BCCI is shaping him to become India's next white-ball captain should come as no surprise.

Hardik Pandya gestures to his teammates (Getty)
Hardik Pandya gestures to his teammates (Getty)

Any cricketer who brings to the table what Hardik does – becomes an automatic pick in the team, but while India's T20I captain brings all three elements into the equation, another India all-rounder feels he can match up to Pandya's skillsets. Deepak Chahar, who has been out of the reckoning since August of last year due to two big injuries, and is planning his comeback into the Indian team after regaining fitness, is targeting the 50-over World Cup later this year, and knows what it takes to get there despite not having played much in the last few months.

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"Process is simple. When I wasn't playing for India, even then I used to follow this process and it hasn't changed even now. When I was struggling in my state team and used to say to my teammates that one day I'll play for India, they would laugh at me. I believed back then as well that if I can bowl around 140 kph, swing the ball both ways, I will not have any trouble getting batters out. And if I can bat a bit, he will always have a place in the Indian team - now and even 10-15 years later. I want to reach that level and I know once I'm there, the performance will follow and I will get selected automatically too. I want that today as well, to bowl in 140s, swing both way and contribute with bat," Chahar told Sports Tak.

A stress fracture in the back ruled Chahar out of last year's World Cup in Australia, and when he seemed to have recovered, the India quick suffered a Grade 3 tear in his quad during the second ODI against Bangladesh in December. His journey back into the team Indian will go through a stern challenge during the IPL, where not only Chahar's skills, but his fitness will go through a litmus test.

As Chahar rightly pointed out, he can swing the ball, generate decent pace and can swing his bat to good affect as well. In July of 2021, Chahar played a match-winning knock guiding India to a narrow win and nearly pulled it off again a few months later in South Africa. Hence, highlighting how rare an asset Hardik is, Chahar is confident that provided he can deliver at the right time, he would be able to not just regain his place back in the Indian team but possibly cement too.

"Competition is tough so you obviously will have to distinguish yourself from the rest. Batting is a plus for me since I've been doing it since I was a child. I have focussed always on it. Last year I got opportunities so I was able to score runs. If I get a chance to make matches and win matches, I will try my best. Look at Hardik Pandya - he does all three things; bowl quick, swing and bat; no one can take his place in the Indian team 1 or 2 years from now. He is the No. 1 all-rounder in the world because he can do all three. So it's not just me; if any player can do that, he will warrant a place in the team," he added.

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