Aakash Chopra, formerly Indian and KKR opener has opined that Hardik Pandya, who played a swashbuckling knock of 90 against Australia in the 1st ODI, proved that he is good enough to play in the Indian team as a specialist batsman as he isn’t bowling nowadays not to risk aggravating his back pain.
He made this observation while reviewing India’s defeat against Australia by 66 runs while chasing 375 in a video shared on his YouTube channel.
Aakash Chopra: Hardik Pandya More Than Capable Of Playing As A Pure Batsman
Aakash Chopra started by highlighting that Hardik Pandya was playing the first ODI encounter against Australia as a pure batsman since he isn’t fit enough to bowl yet.
“Hardik Pandya was playing this encounter as a batsman and will be playing the future matches as well as a batsman. Hardik, the bowler and batsman, the package is outstanding but Hardik the batsman, batting at No.6. “
The renowned commentator praised Hardik Pandya for playing an almost flawless knock and making the best use of a rare chance to play at No. 6 as a specialist batsman.
“How many times does a pure batsman get to bat at No.6. Hardik Pandya got that chance and he showed that he is more than capable of playing as a pure batsman with the way he bats. The others got lives and were struggling a little against the short ball but not Hardik.”
The 43-year-old commentator pointed out that although the junior Hardik Pandya was unfortunate not to reach the three-figure mark, he kept India in the game till the time he was around.
“He hit the short balls and demolished the spinners. He batted very well. He may have missed his century but till the time he was at the crease, he kept India’s hopes alive.”
Hardik Pandya showed his willow power as India scored 308/8 after Australia scored 374/6 opting to bat first with both Steve Smith and Aaron Finch scoring hundreds. Hardik Pandya needed only 76 balls to score 90 which included 7 fours and 4 sixes to reach his career-best figure in ODI.
Aakash Chopra On Hardik Pandya’s Partnership With Shikhar Dhawan
Hardik Pandya stitched together a 128-run partnership with Shikhar Dhawan for the 5th wicket in 21 overs.
Aakash Chopra also appreciated Hardik Pandya for playing the aggressor’s role to perfection in his partnership with Shikhar Dhawan with the latter being the ideal foil at the other end scoring 74 off 86 balls with 10 fours.
“When Hardik and Shikhar had reached the 100-run partnership, Hardik had 75 of those with 25 for Shikhar Dhawan. So you know that a player who has come at No.6 is dominating and the opener is playing second fiddle, of course that is how partnerships develop.”
Aakash Chopra concluded by observing that Hardik Pandya would even merit a promotion up the batting order soon if he continues playing in the same vein.
“So, it was outstanding from Hardik Pandya and it is a stamp of approval that he is more than capable as a batsman and the day is not far when he can be sent at No.5 or even at No.4.”
Pandya came in to bat when all seemed lost….but he managed to keep the hopes alive while he was there. With some high-quality skills. Major positive from an otherwise insipid game for India. #AusvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) November 27, 2020
Hardik Pandya’s 90-run knock in yesterday’s encounter against Australia is his highest score to date in ODI cricket. He also achieved the distinction of becoming the fastest Indian to 1000 ODI runs, in terms of the number of balls played, during the course of his batting effort in the 1st ODI against Australia. In 55 ODIs, he has 1047 runs.