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India fielding coach R Sridhar, on Wednesday, lavished praise on Hardik Pandya after the allrounder’s impressive show in his comeback game. Pandya returned to the national team from the suspension that was imposed on him and KL Rahul for the crass comments on a television talk show. Both the players were asked to return home from Australia. The Committee of Administrators banned the duo on January 11. Later, the CoA lifted the ban on the pair, pending the appointment and adjudication of the board’s ombudsman.
Consequently, both the players returned to action. While Rahul joined India A squad for the ongoing one-dayers against England Lions, Pandya flew to New Zealand for the ongoing ODI series. And it was a comeback to remember for the allrounder. Pandya, who had not played for India since the Asia Cup last year, made his presence felt with a fine bowling and fielding effort. He took to two important wickets for 45 runs off his 10 overs in addition to taking a breathtaking catch to send back home skipper Kane Williamson.
And ahead of the fourth ODI against New Zealand, R Sridhar praised Pandya, pointing out his impressive fielding.
“No one was more keen than Hardik Pandya to play that game,” R Sridhar said. “He’s been working very hard during the time he got back home and the kind of energy he brought into the team, the desperation he brought was magnificent to see. He’s always been a good fielder. He was just dying to get into the thick of things and be a part of this and get back to what he loves doing, that is to play cricket and play it best he can.
“That catch – he made a very difficult catch look easy. By no means an easy catch and then also the fact that it was Kane Williamson’s catch; the extra pressure of one of the best batsmen in the world. I think that was a turning point. I would say piece of magic from Hardik Pandya. He’s known for that. He’s one of the best fielders as we have in the country. If you also notice, he hit the stumps on quite a few occasions in his comeback match, which was very pleasing to see,” he added.