Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar said he was skeptical about Hardik Pandya’s selection in the ODI side for the Australia series but that the Mumbai Indians star has proved him wrong with the performances in India’s 1-2 defeat.
Hardik Pandya was picked as a pure batsman in the playing XI in the first ODI ahead of Manish Pandey as the Mumbai Indians all-rounder has not been bowling to give his injury-prone back more time to recover. Pandya shone in the role hitting an unbeaten 90 in the first match and following it up with a match-winning 92 in the series finale, which India won to avoid a 3-0 sweep in Canberra on Wednesday.
Hardik Pandya, in fact, top the batting charts for India in the 3-match ODI series, scoring 210 runs, including his highest ODI score of 92 not out.
Manjrekar said India have found a reliable No. 6 batsman in Hardik Pandya and is confident now that the Baroda star can contribute to the team even if he is not bowling. The former batsman said he was impressed with the maturity Hardik showed during his knocks in Sydney and Canberra.
Manjrekar impressed with Hardik’s maturity
“I was skeptical when they picked him on IPL performance. I thought he was a good T20 batsman but 50 overs is a slightly different game. Can Hardik Pandya be a pure 50 overs batsman and he proved to all of us that he can,” Manjrekar told Sony Six after India’s 13-run win in the 3rd ODI.
“He had that score in the first match but we have seen him get runs and not be consistent enough but we have seen in this game again today. So yes, India have found a pure No. 6. Who knows he might start going up the order.
“Whether he bowls or not, India have now found a very capable batsman who can be used as an option in No. 5 or No. 6.
“It wasn’t a T20 innings, India lost early wickets and he got 30 from his first 30 balls. He has got the range and not too many bowlers can keep him quiet. That’s really impressive. He has convinced me as I was skeptical about him as a No. 6 pure batsman. I think India have found one.”
Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja led the rescue act to perfection after India were in a spot of bother at 152 for 5 following Virat Kohli’s dismissal in the 32nd over. The duo added a record-breaking stand of 150 runs as India posted 302.
Having clinched a consolation win and opened their account in Australia, India will be more confident when they take on Australia in the first of the upcoming 3-match T20I series in Canberra on Friday, December 4.