Sanjay Manjrekar has stated that he was skeptical when Hardik Pandya was picked on the basis of his IPL performances, but the all-rounder has proved he can be a pure 50-over batsman. He added that India have found a pure number 6 batsman in Jr. Pandya, who scored an unbeaten 92 in the last ODI.
India had a pretty terrible start to the Australian series as they suffered crushing defeats in the first two ODIs, handing over the three-match series to Australia. In the ODI, India was pretty much on the same self-destructive path, however, a brilliant sixth-wicket partnership between Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja saved the day for India, helping them reach the score of 302 after they were struggling at 152-5.
In reply, Australia fell short by 13 runs, and India managed to get their first win on the Tour Down Under. Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar stated that India have found a reliable no. 6 batsman in Jr. Pandya, who followed up his 90 in the first match with a match-winning 92 in the third match, helping India avoid a clean sweep.
“I was skeptical when they picked him on IPL performance. I thought he was a good T20 batsman but 50 over – is a slightly different game. Can Hardik Pandya be a pure 50 overs batsman and he proved to all of us that he can,” Manjrekar said on Sony Six after India’s win in the 3rd ODI.
“He had that score in the first match but we have seen him get runs and not be consistent enough but we have seen in this game again today. So yes, India have found a pure No. 6. Who knows he might start going up the order?”
Manjrekar pointed out that Pandya was extremely mature in his approach to the innings, consolidating at the start and then, going bonkers at the end. He added that he was sceptical about Hardik as the no. 6 batsman but the all-rounder has dispelled all his doubts with his consistent performances.
“It wasn’t a T20 innings, India lost early wickets and he got 30 from his first 30 balls. He has got the range and not too many bowlers can keep him quiet. That’s really impressive. He has convinced me as I was skeptical about him as a No. 6 pure batsman. I think India have found one,” he said.
“Whether he bowls or not, India have now found a very capable batsman who can be used as an option in No. 5 or No. 6.”
After gaining a consolation victory, India will be more optimistic as they take on Australia in the first of the three-match T20I series in Canberra on Friday.