Hardik Pandya. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

The Story:

23-year-old Hardik Pandya, with the help of some of the recent performances, has presented himself as a perfect replacement for the MS Dhoni – The Finisher. The former Indian skipper has been surrounded with sceptics who feel that his powers are now diminishing and Indian team now needs a fresh face to lead the assault down the order keeping the 2019 Cricket World Cup in mind.

Read More: Opinion – (What future does MS Dhoni holds in Indian cricket)

The assumption made by the critics is quite understandable, as MS Dhoni has clearly not been the sort of batsman he used to be before 2015. There have more than a couple of occasions where he has failed to take the Indian team past the line in recent games; the most recent moment came after he scored a snail-paced 54 from just 114 balls which did not prove good enough to hep India chase down the measly target of 190 runs at the North Sound, Antigua a few days back.

Read More: (Sunil Gavaskar defends former skipper over severe criticism)

Bright Option Available:

Hardik Pandya has emerged as the right man to take MS Dhoni’s hat and carry forward the finisher’s role in the coming years. The lanky seam bowling all-rounder has been very promising and few of his knocks at the international stage, barring his antics for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, have convinced many that he can win matches for Team India.

“I am pretty happy with the way things are going for me. Both with bat and ball,” said Pandya, who believes that he can be equally handy with both bat and ball.

“You should be brave enough to do the job that is required of you. I back myself to play in any situation. I see myself as a proper all-rounder and not bowling or batting all-rounder.”

He promises fearless cricket. The freshest memory in the minds of the fans about his audacious cricket nature is the unanticipated fiery knock against Pakistan in the finals of the Champions Trophy 2017 at London a couple of weeks back. His 76 off 43 balls was the lone bright spot in India’s forgettable chase, as Pakistan won the game by 180 runs.

He has shown immense potential and walks in with the mindset of the finisher. He has failed on a couple of occasions but that could be neglected without any fuss. All he has to do is absorb the most out of his successful veteran and improve each passing day.

Conversation With MS Dhoni:

Talking about his partnership with Dhoni, Pandya said they were confident about chasing down the modest 190-run target.

“The conversation with MS was pretty simple, to be honest. The power which we both have we thought to take the innings deep and then chase it down. Most times we would chase 31 off 29 balls but then we were not able to finish. I back myself to finish the game for the team and all these instances are part of the learnings,” said Pandya at Sabina Park.

He felt that the 4th ODI was one of those games where India was quite unfortunate.

“We will be fearless in the final game. Last game was one of those games where it did not click. But we will go ahead and express ourselves, that is when we play our best cricket,” he said further.

Hardik Pandya’s IPL experience has come to great use in West Indies. The youngster admits that his relationship with top Windies superstars – Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons and others – has helped him understand the conditions much better.

“I am pretty close to the names you took (Kieron Pollard and Lendl Simmons, who are not part of the ODI team). The first call was to Pollard. I asked him about the pitches and conditions. They are my brothers from another mother. It would have been nice to play against them and enjoy some healthy banter,” he added.

Also Read: (Hardik Pandya says he is happy with how things are shaping up for him)


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