Hardik Pandya is an Indian cricketer who plies his trade for Baroda in domestic cricket. An allrounder, he is an aggressive middle-order right-handed batsman and a right-arm medium fast-bowler.
Pandya has been tipped by many to end India’s long wait for a quality pace-bowling allrounder. Funky hairdo, tattoos, swagger, Pandya very much represents next-gen India and his style of play very much suits his personality. A livewire on field, Pandya is a quality batsman and bowler.
He was fast-tracked into the Indian team after his impressive performances for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.
As several youngsters do in the modern era, Pandya announced himself to the world during the IPL, portraying his swashbuckling ability to strike the ball, outstanding fielding, and some street-smart bowling that transcends the cliché ‘just rolls his arm over’. He made the world sit up when he soaked in the pressure and came good in crunch situations, playing a pivotal role in the Mumbai franchise’s second title triumph, and winning two Man of the Match awards on his way. The Indian public and critics, who never fail to make comparisons, immediately had the inevitable question at the tip of their tongue: Had India found their first fast-bowling all-rounder since Kapil Dev?
He was first drafted into the ODI team for the home series against New Zealand in 2016. By that time, he had improved his bowling to a great extent and made an instant impression, bagging the Man of the Match award on his debut. Prior to that, he had become the toast of the nation after defending 2 off 3 against Bangladesh to keep India alive in the World T20.
Pandya’s reputation grew in 2017. After helping Mumbai Indians win the IPL title, he shone in the Champions Trophy. In the group stages of the tournament, he hit three consecutive sixes to Imad Wasim. In the final which India lost heavily, he was the sole bright spark for the Men in Blue. He revived India’s hopes for a while with his whirlwind knock of 76 off just 43 balls. He reached his half-century in 32 deliveries and broke Adam Gilchrist’s record for the fastest to get there in any ICC competition.
He then made his Test debut on the tour of Sri Lanka and scored a fifty. In the third and final Test, he scored his maiden Test century, and set the record for becoming the first Indian batsman to score a test century just before lunch and set the record for scoring the most number of runs in a single over of a test innings for India in their test history scoring 26 runs.
His impressive show continued in the home ODI series against Australia too as he bagged the Man of the Series award for his all round performance.
Pandya has got the extended run from the selectors and has the backing of the team management and it is now up to him how he grabs the opportunity.