England vs India: Hardik Pandya could provide the spark in ODIs

England vs India: Hardik Pandya could provide the spark in ODIs

The 24-year old all-rounder has impressed across all three formats for India in recent times.

Hardik Pandya
India batsman Hardik Pandya. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Hardik Pandya and his growing influence in this Indian limited-overs cricket team is a massive factor. The right-arm medium pacer has developed a knack of picking wickets regularly and when it comes to ending the innings with a quick flourish, the player has been magnificent for the side in both chasing and setting a target. Pandya’s blitz was seen in the recently concluded three-match T20I series against England.

Now as India gear up for a three-match ODI series against the world’s best side, Pandya’s all-round abilities could be a real asset for Virat Kohli’s side. And he could well be a concern for the hosts given his attributes in providing an assurance in pivotal moments of the game. Pandya did whatever his captain expected out of him in the T20Is and showed his mettle to be considered as a serious campaigner.

All-rounders are massive assets in the modern day game and it’s a blessing that India have someone like a Pandya putting in the shifts regularly. Against England, the 24-year-old youngster was a striking factor for the side and his brilliant show with both bat and ball helped India clinch the series decider. The player brings so many factors in this Indian side and knows the responsibilities well.

Pandya has become more reliable

Unlike previous occasions, Pandya has become more reliable now in the limited-overs game. And that, in turn, has also helped him make an entry to Test fold as well. A total of 7 wickets in 5 matches in India’s tour of UK so far, makes the player a valuable option for skipper Kohli. In the final T20I against England in Bristol, it was Pandya’s 4/38 that was an immense factor, as India managed to restrict England below 200.

Pandya is a captain’s delight. Besides being a live wire in the field, his batting prowess should not be overlooked. The unbeaten 33-run knock against England was a total massacre as Pandya also hit the winning runs with a six. This guy is gaining a lot of respect after the shows he has been putting in.

His heroics in batting have become consistent. What it also does is that, as per situations, one can see Pandya be promoted to either number 5 or 6, especially when the side needs a flourish. He generally comes in at number 7, but with his flamboyance, Kohli knows he can react as per demands.

Kohli has been hitting the ball long and clean and looks fearless.

Pandya contributing as a fifth bowler

Pandya’s performance with the ball as the side’s fifth bowler has been a positivity for India. This, in turn, gives Kohli the chance to go in with 6 frontline batsmen. Pandya is becoming quite the force for India in the shortest format and 33 wickets in 35 matches speak volumes. In ODIs, he has picked 39 scalps.

The best part about Pandya is that he is a thinking bowler and never loses hope, despite at times being punished by the batsmen. The economy rate in this series has been better which also shows he is learning quickly. He has become patient with his line and consistency and the wickets he picked showed how he has been mixing the deliveries well with some cutters, length balls and pitched up deliveries as well.

He ripped apart the English middle-order with panache at Bristol. Now with Trent Bridge looming, where England will be really powerful given their success in this venue, Pandya could come in handy. A strong performance can help him move forward for the remaining games.

A capable performer in recent times

Pandya has been likened to the great Kapil Dev in recent times. Pandya is slowly becoming the capable performer with flashes of consistency. He can bring in the impact Kapil had in his era. But comparisons are unfair and the legendary cricketer felt that it is unfair to compare two players of different eras as it doesn’t do justice to either of them.

The presence of all-rounders gives the captain an extra choice in both departments of batting and bowling. But they are often pressurized with the dual role of doing both acts to their potential. So far Pandya has shown that he is capable of contributing in both manners and also that he can handle responsibilities well.

Pandya will be expected to have a similar say in the upcoming ODI series. India is most likely to go in with five bowlers with Pandya being the fifth choice. One may, therefore, see Suresh Raina too, who can roll in some overs if someone has a bad day. In the last series against South Africa, he impressed with his bowling claiming four scalps in six games.

This time though, he needs to have a bigger say against the number one side in the world.