Glenn McGrath was full of praise for all-rounder Hardik Panda, stating India was lucky to have a player who had the impact equivalent to two players and was a luxury to have. He went on to comment on the future of cricket at large and hoped for the revival of ODIs by introducing more excitement.
India's road towards the ICC World T20 in Australia continues through ups and downs as they desperately try to establish the winning combinations required to clinch the title for the second time in 15 years. The process has only become more complicated since the end of the latest IPL edition owing t an influx of talent staking a claim in the lineup given their exemplary performances against the world's elite in the T2 league. However, perhaps the biggest boost that the Men in Blue received from the tournament is the resurgence of an ever-confident Hardik Panda.
The all-rounder from Gujarat was given the honour of captaining his home side of Titans in their debut season and the 28-year-old performed the task brilliantly, taking them straight to the trophy in a fantastic season. Pandya himself contributed both with the bat as well as the ball throughout, thus earning himself a place back in the Indian team following a long injury break. The all-rounder instantly rose to the occasion and has been on a roll ever since, with his best coming in the recent tours of England and the West Indies.
The right-handed player struck a match-winning 71 runs after taking four wickets in the final ODI against the Three Lions, before another brilliant showcase against the Caribbean outfit in the second T20I on Wednesday. A composed 31 helped anchor the Men in Blue to a respectable total of 138 despite a disastrous batting collapse, while his economy rate of four in four overs along with a wicket ensured the team stretched the encounter till the very last over. Such performances have drawn great plaudits for Pandya from legendary Australian pacer Glenn McGrath.
"Cricket is very much a confidence sport. Hardik is very much a confidence player. If he is bowling well, it has a positive impact on his batting. He is two players in one. He is a luxury. He is a good, intelligent bowler and powerful hitter. He has got a good game plan," McGrath told reporters as per Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, the 52-year-old also shared his opinion on the ongoing discussions about ODIs and whether they are relevant for the sport anymore. Recently, Ben Stokes announced his retirement from the format at the premature age of 31 and Ravi Shastri has revealed Hardik plans to do the same next year. Further, the Proteas announced they would forfeit a three-match ODI series against Australia putting their direct qualification to the marquee event at risk, raising questions over whether teams value ODI anymore considering the lack of revenue they pull compared to the other two formats.
"I am very much a traditionalist. I liked Test, I liked my ODIs. Test cricket is till the ultimate to me. I I hope that it is protected and still held in high regard. As for the ODIs, it is still exciting as long as they are scoring runs. Interesting to see the future (of ODIs) and see where it goes. They have got to keep making it (ODIs) exciting. They have got a few challenges," McGrath said on the matter.