Hardik Pandya has been raking applause from the fans of Indian cricket after his heroics with the bat in the second T20I at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday.
Coming in to bat when India needed 75 runs off 38 deliveries, Pandya, initially forged a 29-run stand with skipper Virat Kohli, then followed with an unbeaten 46 runs partnership alongside Shreyas Iyer (12, 5b), scoring 16 runs off the final over and steering the tourists to a mind-boggling triumph against Matthew Wade & Co.
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Although the Baroda cricketer hasn’t bowled much in the ongoing series, he has been a consistent performer with the bat on Australian soil. Speaking on the same, Zaheer Khan, who has worked closely with the all-rounder in Mumbai Indians’ camp, reckons that he could be a highly impactful player in the future, someone who is feared by the bowlers under clutch moments.
“He is just so relaxed and not really frustrated by the dot balls if there are any at that stage. Just because of the belief he has. If he can hit six at any stage and he waits for that bowler to make that error. He makes sure that the bowler is under pressure,” Zaheer Khan told Cricbuzz following India’s victory in the second T20I.
He added, “More and more he is going in his career, you know, he is going to create a reputation like this which is going to be very hard for any bowler to deal with at stage if he is at the crease.”
Hardik Pandya is a great impact player: Zaheer Khan
Pandya has been tonking runs in the limited-overs since the concluded edition of IPL in UAE. He was among the highest run-getters for the tourists in the ODIs, scoring a 90 and a match-winning 92* while striking at over 110 in the first and third ODIs respectively. He then struck a nerve-wracking 22-ball 42* comprising 3 fours and 2 sixes in the second T20I to seal the series for the Men in Blue.
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With Pandya proving his potency of turning out to be a match-winner in India’s middle-order, Zaheer feels that the only area where the 27-year-old Surat-born could work upon and become a greater asset for Team India is his bowling. Furthermore, he stated that his presence in the team adds the required balance.
“You know the kind of batting which he is doing, add his bowling to it and his fielding. And then, he is a great asset to have – a match-winner. Something which he should always consider to work on is his bowling and provide that kind of balance to the side, ” said the 2011 World Cup-winning member.
“He is definitely used this time at the moment to turn things around with regards to his batting. He is going in confidence and turning out to be a great impact player at this level,” he added.
India will look to script a white-wash win over Australia as they lock horns in the third and final T20I on Tuesday in Sydney.