The Indian cricket team started their ODI series against New Zealand with a win in the first ODI on Sunday in Dharamsala. The team's bowling performance was lauded for restricting the Kiwis to a below par score of 190. Leading the attack was Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who was making his debut. The man from Baroda went on to pick up three wickets in his seven overs giving away 31 runs. He eventually went on to become the man of the match.
The 23-year old came into the limelight after his phenomenal performances in the World T20 earlier this year in Bangladesh. However, he found himself in a mix of things as he wasn't picked for the ODI series against Zimbabwe, which saw the Indian cricket team fielding a second string team.
An exclusive interview with India A bowling coach, Paras Mhambrey, was carried out by the Times of India on Monday.
Mhambrey said that Pandya was really sweating it out in India A's tour in Australia. He explained about how the all-rounder focused on channelizing his energy and bowl consistently. "Pandya was in the limelight. And all of a sudden he wasn't there. He needed to find answers on where he was wrong, the areas he had to improve to make a comeback and sustain it. He is an exuberant guy and wants to do well. At times you can get carried away because of that as a bowler. We worked more on the mental aspect of the game than on the technical side."
Dravid played a vital role in Pandya’s growth
Mhambrey also mentioned that Rahul Dravid played a vital role in Pandya's emergence as a much more matured cricketer than what he was a few months ago. He said, "Rahul spoke a lot to him on his batting and he was impressed with Pandya's abilities.
"With regards to his bowling, we asked him to hit the areas where he could set up batsmen. If you are able to do that consistently , then you are giving yourself an opportunity to get wickets. We spoke about being disciplined with his bowling. And we challenged him to bowl consistently on the three-quarter lengths in Australia as there is little room for error. I'm very happy that whatever he has worked on has helped him and he has made a strong comeback."
Mhambrey felt that Pandya had realised the importance of fitness in order to improve as a bowler. The all-rounder was frequently clocking around 140kph during the first ODI.
Also read: India vs New Zealand- 1st ODI: Stats
Mhambrey went on to say, "He is aware that his workload is only going to increase as he falls into the all-rounder category . If he has to be up there as an all-rounder, then has to be fit. That's something he has really worked on with the trainer. His self realization on the importance of fitness has helped him immensely."
If Pandya continues to perform the way he did in the first ODI, then India's woe of a quality all-rounder will be sorted out.