India vs England: Hardik Pandya not an effective bowler or batsman, hence not a Test all-rounder, says Michael Holding

Michael Holding in fact feels that Pandya is not yet a Test all-rounder as he is not effective as a batsman and lacks consistency with the ball.

cricket Updated: Aug 17, 2018 17:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India vs England,Michael Holding,Harbhajan Singh
Hardik Pandya bowls on the third day of the second Test cricket match between England and India at Lord's Cricket Ground.(AFP)

It is a tough time to be an Indian cricketer. Not only is the team struggling in England, the players attitude and even their position in the side is being questioned. Hardik Pandya, who often finds himself in the firing line, faces questions over his selection in the Indian side.

He is experiencing the vagaries of cricketing fortune currently as he struggles for form along with the rest of the Indian team in England.

Pandya, who has been touted by many as India’s next Kapil Dev, has seen his stock plummet over the past two Test matches with several former cricketers taking objection to him being treated as an all-rounder with capabilities similar to that of the great Kapil Dev. First it was former India captain Sunil Gavaskar and now it is former West Indian great Michael Holding who has questioned his abilities as a Test all-rounder.

Holding in fact feels that Pandya is not yet a Test all-rounder as he is not effective as a batsman and lacks consistency with the ball. Holding is part of host broadcasters Sky Sports’ coverage of the India’s Test series with England and has watched him closely in both Tests, at Lord’s and Edgbaston.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo the Jamaican said, “The [Indian] attack has not been the right balance. Apparently they are playing Hardik Pandya as an all-rounder to help out with the bowling. When he bowls he isn’t as effective as he should be. If he was a good batsman, if he was getting runs - 60s, 70s, not even regular hundreds - at the number at which he bats and then he bowls and gets two or three wickets, happy, hallelujah. Happy with that. But he is not getting the amount of runs that can then allow him to get a wicket or two in the Test match. That doesn’t work.”

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Hardik Pandya has so far scored 90 runs at an average of 22.5 in the series and two of the three wickets picked up by him have come while the batsmen were looking to accelerate.

“I don’t think he does a lot with the ball. That is number one,” Holding added. “He is not consistent. He does not have the control that puts batsmen under pressure constantly. He will bowl a couple of good deliveries, yes, but you need to have the control to put batsmen under pressure consistently. And he doesn’t have that. If you are going to be a frontline bowler anywhere in the world, if you are going to be someone that your captain can rely on, that can throw you the ball and expect you to get wickets and expect you to have control, he is not really the man in my opinion.”

Michael Holding also said that if he had any choice he wouldn’t pick Pandya for the third Test at Edgbaston beginning on Saturday.

Earlier Former India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh also had some scathing words to say about his former Mumbai Indian teammate Pandya.

“He (Hardik Pandya) hasn’t got many runs as a batsman and the captain doesn’t seem to have confidence in his bowling. If he doesn’t bowl in these conditions then things will only get difficult for him and the Indian team in the future,” Harbhajan told AajTak.

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The off-spinner compared Pandya’s performances to that of England all-rounder’s like Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes to show that the youngster was found lacking on several occasions.

“We have to remove the all-rounder tag from him as an all-rounder contributes in both the departments as Stokes, Sam Curran did in the first Test and now Woakes has done at the Lord’s. The same is expected of Hardik Pandya, he cannot become Kapil Dev overnight!,” the spinner added.

Since making his debut last year in Galle, Pandya has scored 458 runs at 32.71 and picked 10 wickets in nine Tests played for India.

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 18:50 IST