Hardik Pandya responds to criticism and comparisons with Kapil Dev
Hardik Pandya, the Indian all-rounder, has had his share of critics. But in the third Test against England at Trent Bridge, he had an emphatic answer to all of them with a maiden five-wicket haul and run a ball fifty in second innings.
Before this match, questions were being raised upon his inclusion in the Test team as a third seamer in pace-friendly conditions. The Indian all-rounder had managed just 10 wickets in nine Tests (14 innings).
Though questions never raised upon his batting as he scored 528 runs in 10 Tests at an average of 35.20 comprising a century and four half-centuries. The maiden Test Century came in the third Test against Sri Lanka in August 2017, when he scored hundred off just 86 balls and also set the record for most runs off an over by an Indian player in Test cricket when he took 26 runs from an over bowled by Malinda Pushpakumara.
While he achieved his career-best figures of 3/66, in the second Test at Lord’s, but went unnoticed as English trio of Broad, Anderson and Woakes routed the Indian batting lineup. But Pandya had some other plans in his mind as on Sunday, 19 August, the second day of the third Test at Trent Bridge. Hardik blew away the England batting in a spell of great control and swing. It just took 29 balls as he picked up his maiden five-wicket haul, which is the second quickest five-for by an Indian. The quickest is Harbhajan Singh when he had taken 27 balls against West Indies in Kingston back in 2006.
After the third day of Trent Bridge Test against England, the talks of Pandya being compared with Indian legend Kapil Dev (the all-rounder who led India to their first ever CWC triumph in 1983) once again got some pace. But Hardik Pandya was quick enough to puta stop on that.
In a post Day interview to ICC (which was later published in their media release), the all-rounder said,“I play for my country. I don’t care what they say. It’s their job to say it and it’s my job to play for my country. I’m doing the right thing. My team is happy with me. Nothing else matters. First of all, I don’t play for them."
On being asked about his comparison with Kapil Dev the charismatic Pandya said, "The problem with this is you compare, yes, but all of a sudden something goes wrong and they are like ‘he is not that’." Pandya further added. "I have never wanted to be Kapil Dev. Let me be Hardik Pandya. I am good at being Hardik Pandya, reached here till now, I have played 40 ODIs and now 10 Test matches being Hardik Pandya, not Kapil Dev. They are great in their era. Let me be Hardik Pandya. Stop comparing me with anyone. I will be happy if you don't.