Legendary Indian all-rounder, Kapil Dev, has advised BCCI to send Hardik Pandya to play county cricket in England to develop his all-round game. Pandya is part of India's Test squad that is currently facing England but is yet to get a debut.
There was a lot of talk about Pandya’s selection to the Test team for this series as he has only played a handful of First-class matches and experts felt that he needed to develop a lot more to be even considered an option in Test cricket.
Pandya has played just 16 First-class matches, scoring 727 runs at a mediocre average of 27.96. He has 22 wickets including one five-wicket haul but is far from a regular bowler for Baroda. But fast bowling all-rounders are a rarity in India and it seems to have aided his selection.
The former Indian captain had this to say while speaking to Sportstar: “He needs to bowl a lot more in first-class cricket, not just four overs. Hardik must not confine himself to just one-day and Twenty20 cricket. I think the BCCI must send him to England to play county cricket for a season.”
Dev also had a word of advice for Pandya's predecessor, Stuart Binny, who seems to have lost favour with the selectors. The Karnataka all-r0under had been a major part of the plans in the Kohli-Shastri tenure, but his mediocre performances have resulted in his exclusion from all formats of the game.
“I was a bowling all-rounder and someone like Jacques Kallis was a batting all-rounder. You need to be sure in your mind what you want to become and work extra hard in that department," Kapil said. He further added a word about Ashwin, who is developing into a fine all-rounder. “I would give him ten out of ten in batting and bowling. The only thing against him is that he is not an athlete on the field.”
Kapil went on to speak about the Indian seamers, especially Shami, who bowled a peach of a ball to get rid of England captain, Alastair Cook in the first innings. A sharp delivery that seamed in to beat Cook between bat and pad broke the off stump into two, a rare sight for an Indian fast bowler.
He also disagreed that there was a particular successful length in the sub-continent and said that he used to vary his length depending on the batsmen. In a period where there was no technology to bank on, analysing a batsman's fault was a major factor for an intelligent seamer.
He cited the example of Stuart Broad, who bowled a terrific spell of Day 4 to cut down India's lead. The eight over spell by the England seamer was underlined by his intelligent bowling. Kapil spoke of how he pauses for a second while in his run up and believed that it game him time to analyse the initial movement of the batsman.
Kapil said, “It was one of the best spells I have seen in India by a fast bowler in a long time. He bowled some very good cutters, leg-cutters in particular, using his wrist. Bowling here is not about reverse swing alone.”
He said that to be successful in these conditions, a fast bowler needs a "big heart". He believed that consistency is the key on Indian wickets and persisting in the channel and hitting the seam would reap rewards.