The two famous cricketing legends had recently leveled several allegations against this all rounder in different occasions.
There has been a dearth of quality all rounders in the Indian cricket team. Hardik Pandya had been one of the solutions to this problem in the recent past. However this player has been off the field for a while. He was afflicted with an acute back injury during the Asia Cup group match against Pakistan and was ruled out of the matches hence.
Ravindra Jadeja was named as his substitute with immediate effect for the rest of the Asia Cup. This all rounder seemed to be eagerly waiting for an opportunity to seize. He sparkled with both the bat and the ball and was a key factor for India’s clinching the title.
Jadeja’s form and Pandya’s lack of fitness kept the latter out of the squad for the home series assignment against the Windies. Jadeja continued his remarkable show in the field in all the departments in the series, striking a maiden test century against the Carribbeans as well.
Pandya on the other hand has recovered and is striving hard to win his place back in the team. However seeing Jadeja’s ongoing performance and Pandya’s inconsistent performance in the recent past, this seems to take a bit more time.
Pandya was thoroughly inconsistent with both the bat and ball in the test series against England. His performance came under the strict scrutiny of two legendary cricketers, Sunil Gavaskar and Michael Holding. Both of them didn’t hesitate to shower allegations on this individual owing to his performances as an all rounder.
Sunil Gavaskar when asked about Pandya’s selection into the Indian squad as an all rounder, had clearly stated that he didn’t consider him as an all rounder at all. He saw no point of him being inducted into the squad when there were other players who could perfectly fill in his shoes.
“Do you want to call Hardik Pandya an all-rounder? Whoever wants to call Pandya an all-rounder, may call! But I don’t think so.”
Later after India’s humiliating defeat in the test series against England, Gavaskar had raised questions about his potential too. He felt the individual not delivering as expected of him to the fullest.
On the other hand, former West Indies pacer, Michael Holding also expressed his disappointment over Pandya’s abilities as an all rounder in a meeting with the press. He said that he is uncertain of his role in the Indian team. He would have termed him as a batsman if he was consistent with his willow or a bowler if he bagged wickets for the team at crucial junctures. But he seemed to miserably fall short in both.
“Apparently they are playing Hardik Pandya as an allrounder to help out with the bowling. When he bowls he isn’t as effective as he should be. If he was a good batsman, if he was getting runs – 60s, 70s, not even regular hundreds – at the number at which he bats and then he bowls and gets two or three wickets, happy, hallelujah. Happy with that. But he is not getting the amount of runs that can then allow him to get a wicket or two in the Test match. That doesn’t work.”
Hardik Pandya on the other hand replied wittily and rather coolly when asked about the allegations made by the legends. He seemed not to take these allegations in a negative fashion but in a constructive manner rather.
He prefers to improvise in the areas highlighted by them and wittily considers himself worthy enough to be a subject of their conversations.
“No sir. Why would it hurt? They’ve played so much cricket. Let them say it. It’s OK. I’ve heard them so much. I respect that. I’m worthy enough that they’re talking about me. If I wasn’t, they wouldn’t have said anything about me! I take it in a positive way.”
It would be indeed interesting to watch whether Pandya’s continued rigorous trainings earn him a place in the side for the overseas assignment against Australia despite several allegations. The team management would definitely have a hard time deciding for the spot for the all-rounder while declaring the squad.