'He bowled and batted quite well' - Babar Azam's reserved response to journalist's question on Hardik Pandya

Pandya was the star of the show on Sunday against Pakistan as he showcased his all-round brilliance.

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Babar Azam
Babar Azam in a post-match press conference

The whole cricket world was stunned after watching all-rounder Hardik Pandya win the game for India, against Pakistan, on Sunday when the two teams clashed in the second game of Asia Cup 2022. In the first innings, Pandya took three wickets and followed it up with an unbeaten match-winning knock of 33*(17) to take India over the finish line in the final over of the chase.

When Hardik teamed up with Ravindra Jadeja, India were in trouble during the difficult 148-run chase on a surface that wasn't favourable for strokeplay. Together, they stitched up a vital 52-run partnership for the fifth wicket, and when Jadeja was out in the final over, Hardik maintained his composure to win the game with a six off the fourth ball of the final over.

However, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, during a post-match press conference responded in a somewhat reserved manner when asked about Pandya’s skill. Babar was dismissed off a short-ball by the experienced pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar and could not make a big impact in the game, like he did during the T20 World Cup against India at the same venue last year.

A journalist asked him: "Hardik Pandya jaisa khiladi T20 cricket mein jab fit and fine rehta hai toh ek bada difference karta hai? Wo India k paas ek bada advantage hai? (A player like Hardik Pandya when fit can make a big difference. Does India have an advantage by having someone like him in the mix?)"

To which the Pakistani skipper responded: "Definitely usne bowling acchi aur batting bhi kafi accchi ki. Mere khayal se wo kafi accha all-rounder hai. Aj jis tarike se usne finish kia hai wo kafi accha tha. (He bowled well and batted quite well too. He is a good all-rounder and the way he finished the match was good)."

Hardik Pandya overcomes his obstacles

Pandya’s comeback has surely been better than his setback. During the previous Asia Cup, the all-rounder was taken out of the game mid-way, on a stretcher after he suffered a massive injury. Even after his recovery, he was looked upon as a batter and could not handle his game in the bowling department. But ever since the conclusion of IPL 2022, he has been a prominent all-rounder on the side fulfilling his duties to perfection.

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