Virat Kohli is of the opinion that Hardik Pandya certainly has the competitive nature and the skillset to be a complete player at the highest level after the all-rounder guided India to series win. He has also hailed the side for a complete team effort that resulted in a solid win.
Hardik Pandya has been a revelation for the Indian team this tour of Australia, with the all-rounder scoring 90, 28, 92* in the ODIs followed by 16 and a majestic unbeaten 42* in the T20Is so far. More than the runs he has scored, it has been his sense of carrying the responsibility on his shoulder that tells more about his impact which has caught the attention.
After Virat Kohli’s dismissal, a win seemed like a difficult proposition for the Indian team but Pandya launched an assault on Andrew Tye and Daniel Sams in the last couple of overs to help India take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the T20I series. Kohli feels that Hardik’s zeal to improve along with his skill set makes him such a brilliant player.
“The reason for him (Hardik) to come into our team in 2016 was pure ability, he now realizes that this is the time to establish in that (finishing) role and play match-winning knocks for us. He plays with all his heart and he certainly got that competitive nature about him and also has the skill to execute that at the highest level,” Kohli hailed Pandya in the post-match presentation.
Before Pandya came into play, Shikhar Dhawan and KL Rahul set the game up with a 56-run opening partnership for the Indian team with Natarajan picking up a couple of wickets with the ball. Kohli was happy about the fact that it was a complete team effort that guided the side to their 10th consecutive T20I win.
“We played really well as a team in T20 cricket. The fact that two of our established players are not playing and to win like this, makes me very proud of this team. Everyone has played 14 games recently (in the IPL) and they know their plans. Natarajan was outstanding and Shardul was good today. Hardik finishing off the game and Shikhar getting that fifty, it's a whole team effort.”
The third T20I of the series will be played in Sydney on Tuesday.