Former Indian fast bowler Zaheer Khan has opined that given the reputation that Hardik Pandya is carving for himself, it is going to be hard for bowlers to deal with him in the times to come. Pandya played a brilliant finishing hand in India's second T20I win as he made 42* of just 22.
When Hardik Pandya made his international debut few years ago, it was largely owing to filling the vacuum created in the balance of the side sans a pace bowling all-rounder as India's tryst with such kind of players has been on since the time of the great Kapil Dev. Hardik had the ability to hit but he was far from a finished product and had a technique of his own. But, over the years, he evolved from a spin-hitting power-hitter to an out and out power-hitter, who doesn't spare fast bowlers as well and can play the hard lengths, which is generally used to bully Asian batsmen in the fag-end of the innings.
Now, he has a reputation to finish crunch games be it for Mumbai Indians or the Indian cricket team and has emerged as one of the biggest impact players in India. Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan reckons that the Baroda all-rounder has immense belief in his six-hitting abilities and doesn't get bogged down with dot deliveries.
“He’s just so relaxed and not really frustrated by the dot balls if there are any at that stage. Just because of the belief he has. If he can hit six at any stage and he waits for that bowler to make that error. He makes sure that the bowler is under pressure,” Zaheer Khan told Cricbuzz.
Zak also feels as Hardik progresses in his career, he will become harder to deal with as he's going to keep building and enhancing his reputation.
“More and more he is going in his career, you know, he’s going to create a reputation like this which is going to be very hard for any bowler to deal with at that stage if he is at the crease,” Zaheer added.
World Cup-winner Zaheer, however, asserted that Hardik needs to work on his bowling as he adds great balance to the side with his bowling.
“You know the kind of batting which he is doing, add his bowling to it and his fielding. And then, he is a great asset to have – a match-winner. Something which he should always consider to work on is his bowling and provide that kind of a balance to the side. He is definitely used this time at the moment to turn things around with regards to his batting. He is going in confidence and turning out to be a great impact player at this level,” reckoned Zaheer.
India will take on Australia in the third and final T20I of the series in Sydney on December 8 after having already won the series 2-0.