Virat Kohli feels Hardik Pandya can be India's Ben Stokes

Virat Kohli feels Hardik Pandya can be India’s Ben Stokes

Pandya is known for his fearless, hard-hitting batting as well as useful spells as a right-arm medium pacer.

Virat Kohli India
Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli celebrates.
(Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Hardik Pandya, who has been touted as MS Dhoni’s successor as the “finisher” for quite some time now, will be a happy man after the recently concluded 1st Test match between India and Sri Lanka. The visitors won the Test by a staggering margin of 304 runs, taking a 1-0 lead in the 3-Test series. This match also marked Pandya’s debut the longest format of the game; he received his Test cap from the skipper himself ahead of the match. Although doubts were cast over his ability as a Test batsman, he silenced his critics with a blazing half-century in the first innings.

The 23-year-old youngster has had the privilege of having his captain’s utmost faith in his abilities. Skipper, Virat Kohli reinstated his belief in Pandya as he expressed his hopes that Pandya can become India’s Ben Stokes. He is known for his fearless, hard-hitting batting as well as useful spells as a right-arm medium pacer. Quite understandably, Kohli chose to compare him to England’s Stokes, who is without a doubt the best allrounder in the world at the moment.

Kohli praises Pandya’s potential as a cricketer

The skipper had earlier lauded the youngster during the Champions Trophy, 2017, by calling him “priceless” and a player who can deliver “match-winning performances in any game he plays”. After Pandya smashed a half century on his Test debut against Sri Lanka in his usual bolstering fashion, Kohli was all praise for him in the post-match conference, saying, “[Hardik] Pandya has the potential to become the Ben Stokes of India.”

Stokes, for his part, has been a revelation for England since his debut in 2011, both with the bat and the ball. In fact, he was also the costliest player in the last season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Hardik has already made his mark for himself in the shorter formats of the game, having been a part of the World T20 and Champions Trophy squads. He’s also featured in the IPL champion team, Mumbai Indians and led the India A side, very recently. He was presented with the 289th Indian Test cap, and if groomed well in the future, can surely present himself as the solution to India’s long-standing search for a genuine all-rounder.