India vs South Africa: Blue-eyed Hardik Pandya has promises to keep
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India vs South Africa: Blue-eyed Hardik Pandya has promises to keep

Former South Africa captain Shaun Pollock praised Hardik Pandya’s attitude but had a word of caution for those eager to put him in the all-rounder’s bracket.

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2018 19:56 IST
Khurram Habib
Khurram Habib
Hindustan Times, Centurion
Hardik Pandya,India vs South Africa,South Africa vs India
All-rounder Hardik Pandya (R) has been instrumental in India’s win over South Africa in the ongoing ODI series.(AFP)

Hardik Pandya hasn’t taken off on this tour after his knock in the Cape Town Test last month. While talk has veered around his attitude and colour of his hair, Pandya’s biggest contribution after the first Test came in the fifth ODI at Port Elizabeth when he picked the wickets of AB de Villiers and JP Duminy to help India take a stranglehold on the match.

Vice-captain Rohit Sharma praised him saying that he could take the responsibility and bowl his full quota of overs in the absence of a sixth bowler was impressive.

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Rohit’s statement is funny if the definition of an all-rounder is taken into account. Isn’t an all-rounder expected to bowl his full quota of overs?

Former South Africa all-rounder Shaun Pollock praised Pandya’s attitude but had a word of caution for those eager to put him in the all-rounder’s bracket.

“In T20 format, all-rounders are identified as guys who can bowl two or three overs and score 20 off 10 deliveries. I think the challenge comes when you have to repeat that performance for a long period of time. Like, bowling 20 overs or good 20 overs in a Test or batting for 100 deliveries to get a 60. Modern all-rounders do make a contribution in the T20 game, and we tend to see them as good all-rounders because of their scores and wickets in a T20 game. But consistency in performing across all formats and in all conditions is the big challenge. I think the younger players don’t get exposed to that much.”

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Pandya caught everyone’s fancy through his (aggressive) attitude, and Pollock feels his attitude to compete is what makes him permanent in Virat Kohli’s side.

“I get the impression that Kohli loves his attitude. It is similar to how he plays his cricket and because he has that attitude, there’s a good chance he’ll get a real opportunity to settle himself in the team. That’s the nature of cricket. If a captain likes the way a person goes about his business, the player gets an extra run. I liked his attitude and approach in Cape Town, thought he was very good the way he played that knock. But he is learning and has got a bit to find out.

“He has got all the ingredients, the attitude and skills. Time will tell how he will develop that, take that potential to the next level, that is the key.”

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Referring to the in-the-face attitude of the Indian team, Pollock said while aggression and willingness to compete remains the key, it is important to keep a check on emotions.

“Malcolm Marshall taught me to respect the opposition but also have self-belief that whenever you come up against them, you can also win the battle. You can be a bit edgy, you can go into overconfidence with aggression and that is the balance that they need to find. You may have to curb that aggression. With someone who doesn’t have, you can’t develop it. But in international sport, you have to have emotions. How you channel it into best performance instead of peripheral issues is the key.”

First Published: Feb 14, 2018 19:50 IST