Hardik Pandya's biggest litmus Test in English conditions
The Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli has shown great faith in pace all-rounder Hardik Pandya. He has become an important part in the scheme of things for the Indian team, not only in shorter formats but also in test cricket. Despite his inconsistency, he has been given long run to consolidate his position in the team. In Indian conditions, he was preferred ahead of spinner Kuldeep Yadav in test cricket and has been given good exposure. His batting seems to be fine but will be tested harder in overseas condition.
The genuine all-rounder is a cricketer who can be either for his batting or bowling skill in the team. Hardik Pandya is a useful bowler who can bowl 10-12 overs in a day at test cricket taking one or two wickets. He will find difficult to find a place alone for his bowling skill. He needs to work much harder and add more pace with better variety in his bowling. We have far better pace bowlers than him in the team right now.
The spin-bowling all-rounders Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja are world class bowlers and are also consistent with the bat. They give us a better option of playing three genuine quick bowlers with these two spinners. The pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar can also bat decently. Captain Virat Kohli can opt for this option also and English batsmen have more comfort playing pacers than spinners. The spinners can provide us better chance to crack at England.
Hardik Pandya has been getting all these chances to have the option of pace all-rounder for us to do well at overseas conditions at England and Australia. The litmus test begins for him now.
The captain believes he can be developed into world class all-rounder like Ben Stokes of England team. There will be a mini battle between Ben Stokes and Hardik Pandya in this long English tour. The time will say who will be a better match winner for their country.
Kapil Dev was the best world class fast bowling all-rounder for India till date. In fact, he was one of the best in world cricket. He was first true superstar for Indian cricket and played a big role in making the game popular in our country.
Post his retirement, we have been still searching genuine all-rounder of his level for last two and half decades but has been hard to find. There were few promises in Manoj Prabhakar, Irfan Pathan etc. but they felt the pressure of expectations and comparisons.
Any genuine all-rounder should have batting average should be more than 30+ and bowling average less than 40+ at test cricket. With this criteria, Kapil Dev has been extraordinary cricketer with the number of matches he played. Manoj Prabhakar and Irfan Pathan had been good all-rounders with more than decent career record.
Madan Lal and Roger Binny have been decent all-rounders with their utility value. Hardik Pandya's career is in progress and is in early days of his cricket. He is more of a batting all-rounder. The English tour of five test matches will be his biggest litmus test of Hardik Pandya career as a Test cricketer.