Hardik Pandya can be to India what Ben Stokes is to England: Virat Kohli

After wrapping the Galle Test against Sri Lanka with a day to spare, India skipper Virat Kohli is confident that debutant Hardik Pandya will develop into the durable pace-bowling all-rounder India has been searching for.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Jul 29, 2017 19:40 IST
India vs Sri Lanka,Galle Test,Hardik Pandya
India's Hardik Pandya in action during Day 4 of the first Test against Sri Lanka in Galle on Saturday. (AP)

Like a striker in football, a quality pace bowling all-rounder is the most treasured property in international cricket. It is why the Indian team is excited and eager to see that Hardik Pandya develops his potential. He has the pace and is an aggressive batsman. He made a decent debut in the first Test in Galle, scoring a half-century and chipping in with a wicket.

READ | Virat Kohli’s India shatter records in thumping win over Sri Lanka in Galle Test

Skipper Virat Kohli backed Pandya, 23, to provide the Indian team balance in batting and bowling.

“At home, it has been different but when you play away, one guy gives you a lot of balance. I think Hardik can be that guy going ahead, especially playing so much cricket away from home. If he grows in confidence – you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England. He brings in a great balance as an all-rounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can’t become that for India,” said Kohli, declaring that Pandya had answered the quest for all-rounder.

READ | Virat Kohli says Galle Test win vs Sri Lanka an example of Indian bowlers’ skills

“He definitely has. He bowled really nicely on a wicket that wasn’t offering much and he kept it in the right areas. He used the bouncer well. He bowls around 135 kph, and when he bends his back, he can go higher. So, he is a great asset, and specially his batting. Otherwise, we would have been 540-550 in the first innings. He got 50 quickly and that saves you time as well. That gives you another 15 overs to bowl at the opposition. And his fielding is also tremendous. I have a lot of faith in him as far as any format is concerned.”

First Published: Jul 29, 2017 19:35 IST