Kapil Dev believes that Hardik Pandya has the ability of a genuine all-rounder but that will not happen overnight. The legendary all-rounder has also praised India’s team spirit but added that if the team continue to depend on only two players then they will not be able to replicate home success.
Despite losing the first game of the series against South Africa, India had something to cherish as Pandya, who played his fourth Test of his career and first ever Test outside Asia, played a 93-run knock in the first innings and in the second innings, he gave a good start with the ball by claiming two wickets. The game gave an opportunity for the Baroda player to prove himself as a stable option for an all-rounder.
On being asked if Pandya can emerge as a genuine all-rounder for India, Kapil said, "Time will tell, wait for some time. He has the ability," reported PTI.
"The team has to see the right combination, that's it. When you have an all-rounder, that is always good for the captain, he has the option."
The Indian cricket team is on the verge of creating a new record of winning 10 Test series on a trot. They have also a golden chance of registering their first ever Test series win on the South African soil. Kapil, who played 131 Tests and 225 ODIs for India, praised the current crop of players.
"These boys are professional, they are doing so well. We used to look up to other countries, today the world of cricket is looking up to India, it's a big change," he said.
In the first game of the series, the Indian players failed to impress with the bat as their problem of facing moving balls came to the fore again. But it was Indian bowlers especially the pace attack who gained some pride for India as they managed to claim 20 wickets in two innings.
"They are very good, give them time, they will do far better than this what they are already doing. They are a good unit now."
Cheteshwar Pujara failed to give a good start to India as he scored 26 runs while facing 92 balls. However, Kapil believes that Pujara contributed in his own way as he worked in frustrating the opponent bowlers by not giving his wicket easily.
"When you are playing, you play like a team, don't say he is better and he is not better, that way we spoil the team. Everybody has to play his role and everybody has to work hard," Kapil said.
"In football, they say people who score the goal they are not the only people... there are people who give a pass, they are also very important. Likewise, in cricket too, each individual team member has a role to play. Cheteshwar Pujara who made the bowlers tired, those are a more important player than somebody who comes and gets quick 100 runs or 200 runs. I think we look at the game slightly differently, it's a team of 11 players and 5 people who are sitting out. If you depend on only two players, you will never win any game," he added.
Team India surprised the fans when they announced their playing XI for the first Test and there was no Ajinkya Rahane in the line-up. Even, the South African skipper Faf du Plessis admitted that they didn’t expect that India was going to pick Rohit Sharma over Rahane. Later, Indian skipper Virat Kohli explained his move by saying that the management picked the squad considering their recent form and the team combination.
"Only 11 people can play, you and
"You would have asked me the same thing why Rohit is not playing had he not played this Test, you would have asked me the same question that he is in good form and why he is not there. Your (media's) job is asking questions, that's fine, but I think management sitting out there must have planned everything. And whether their plan comes good or bad, we will come to know after the Test match."