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Stats: Hardik Pandya vs the greatest all-rounders after first ten Test matches

Hardik Pandya’s role in the Indian team was questioned after they lost the Lord's Test by an innings margin.

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

Nowhere near Kapil Dev. The all-rounder’s tag should be removed. This is how some of the former cricketers and legends criticized Hardik Pandya after the first two Test matches on the tour of England. Not just a couple of them but many took the opportunity to criticize Pandya for his performance in the Test format after India went down 0-2 in the five-match Test series against England. His role in the Indian team was questioned after they lost the Lord’s Test by an innings margin.

However, the all-rounder turned all of them into admirers by bagging a five-wicket haul in the first innings. He needed just 27 balls to turn the game in his team’s favour. Pandya dismissed Joe Root with the first ball he bowled and took four more wickets in the same spell to complete his maiden five-wicket haul. As a result, England were bowled out for 161 from 86/3 that includes a 32-run partnership for the final wicket. He followed it with an unbeaten 52 in the 2nd innings to push their lead past 500.

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Here is how Hardik Pandya stands as against the other greats after 10 Tests:

Pandya has already been compared with some legendary all-rounders and many consider it baseless but it isn’t after all. The 24-year-old currently averages 35.2 with the bat and 27.69 with the ball. Comparing his numbers with some of the legendary seam bowling all-rounders, Pandya’s bowling average is only behind Ian Botham’s 17.34 after ten Test matches. His batting average is bettered by Botham’s 43.55 and Kapil Dev’s 42.5.

He has worked really hard on his batting technique and temperament for Test cricket, but the standout aspect, his power-hitting ability and the grit has the potential to change the course of a Test match. Pandya is an ideal batsman to be at the crease after the top five would’ve managed to play at least 40 overs against the new ball.

The regular top orders failures in recent overseas Tests brought Pandya to the crease as early as the 25th over and he was batting under pressure thus had little opportunity to express himself. He scored a 52-ball 52 in the 2nd innings of the just concluded Trent Bridge Test when the stage was set for him to give them a finish.

None among the top four pace bowling all-rounders in the Test history have as many as five fifty-plus scores after Ten Tests, unlike Pandya. The difference between him and the former Indian skipper Kapil Dev isn’t significant when their numbers after first ten Test matches are compared. Pandya has scored 18 runs more and averages better with the ball though he has fewer wickets.

It is also worth noting that Pandya is India’s 4th pacer in the line and thus gets fewer overs and is introduced very late in the attack. Despite his five-fer in the first innings, Pandya bowled only 14 overs conceding runs at an economy of 1.6 while the other three pacers bowled more than 20 overs each. Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin also bowled 19 overs struggling with an injury. The likes of Kapil Dev and Imran Khan were both new-ball bowlers and at most times started the proceedings for their team.

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