Hardik Pandya's man-of-the-match display against Pakistan on Sunday has drawn great plaudits from around the world, with Mickey Arthur going so far as to compare him with Jacques Kallis. The Derbyshire coach went on to praise the maturity of the all-rounder, highlighting his performance in the IPL.
After being absent from the international scene for quite a while, Hardik Pandya is back being the talk of the town. A blockbuster cricketer who can take tournaments by storm, the all-rounder was at his absolute best in India's Asia Cup opener against Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
First, an exhibition of fearsome pace bowling involving hitting the deck hard and throwing the batsmen off-guard with searing bouncers saw the 28-year-old come away with three crucial scalps in his four overs. Thus restricting Pakistan to 147, the Men in Blue still needed Pandya's services to take them across the finish line. So he did with a scintillating knock of 33 off just 17 deliveries, including a six off the match's third last ball to secure victory.
Former South African head coach Mickey Arthur compared Pandya's contributions to the legendary Jacques Kallis, who is often considered to be the greatest all-rounder cricket has ever produced.
“Hardik Pandya in the side means it’s almost like India are playing with 12 players. It reminds me of my time back in South Africa when we had Jacques Kallis. You have a guy who can be one of your four seamers and bat in your top-five,” he was quoted as saying on ESPNcricinfo.
Arthur has had the chance to see Pandya from close quarters as well, having been the Pakistan head coach when they defeated India in the 2017 Champions Trophy final. Even though the Men in Green managed a 190-run win back then, Pandya had still dazzled with a 43-ball 76 before an unfortunate run-out cut his innings short. Since, the man from Baroda has only grown his stature, with his captaincy of the Gujarat Titans to the title in the latest edition of the Indian Premier League a strong indication of his development on the biggest of stages.
“I have seen Hardik mature and mature and his leadership in the last IPL was outstanding. He managed his team very well and played so well under pressure,”