Shikhar Dhawan has stated that Deepak Hooda's bowling contributions in the first ODI against West Indies enabled him to further exploit his skills in the next two matches as he gained confidence. The skipper labelled him as a reliable all-around option who could bowl up to nine overs if needed.
With each passing game, Deepak Hooda seems to grow in the conscience of Indian fans as well as the decision-makers for the time with great displays of his exceptional skills. While he first hogged the limelight with some unbelievable power hitting in the IPL followed by a sensational century in a T20I against Ireland, the 27-year-old is now making headlines as a genuine part-time spinner. The all-rounder has bowled in four of the five ODIs he has played in his career, including rolling his arm in all three games of the recently concluded series against West Indies.
In the first game, Hooda bowled five overs and conceded only 22 runs, enforcing intermittent skipper Shikhar Dhawan to bring him into play in the second ODI as well at a crucial juncture. With the destructive openers Kyle Mayers blazing the hosts towards a big total, Hooda provided India with a much-needed breakthrough by grabbing a catch off his own bowling. The right-arm off-break went on to complete a haul of nine overs, restricting the opposition to just 42 runs in the time frame.
The third ODI saw a further escalation in Hooda's exploits with the ball as he was handed the shining white rock to open the innings for India. The youngster was more than up to the task, delivering with a maiden and ending up with 16 runs conceded off his first overs. Dhawan revealed Hooda's display in the first game convinced the management that he could bowl decent spells for the side whenever needed, providing them with an extra bowling option.
"Before the series, we knew he could play the role of an all-rounder. The way he played in the first game, his confidence grew. We realised he could bowl 7-8 overs instead of four or five. He can bowl to left-handers as well. When we realised that after two games, I decided to open with him and he bowled a maiden," said Dhawan as reported by Times Now.
Hooda's abilities with the ball augers well for the Men in Blue given the World Cup taking place in subcontinent conditions next year, which will certainly give part-time spinners a chance to express themselves.