Aakash Chopra believes Hardik Pandya will breach the three-figure mark in ODI cricket if he is sent up the order and gets enough balls to face.
The junior Pandya played a blazing 64-run knock off just 44 deliveries in the series-deciding final ODI against England. It helped Team India post a score of 329 runs, which eventually proved enough for the visitors.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Aakash Chopra observed Hardik Pandya is playing like a specialist batsman and a century is not beyond his reach.
"Hardik Pandya seems like a proper batsman to me now, honestly. I don't see him as an all-rounder or finisher at all. If you bat him up the order, he will score a century as well if he gets enough balls," said Chopra.
The cricketer-turned-commentator lauded Hardik Pandya for the hard yards he has put in to perfect his strokes.
"If you see his shots today, nine out of ten times you will see cricketing shots and wherever he tries to hit the ball, he has prepared so well for those shots that his execution in amazingly good," added Chopra.
Hardik Pandya's enterprising knock was studded with five boundaries and four hits over the ropes.
Hardik Pandya has updated his batting software: Aakash Chopra
"Four wickets had fallen at one time. When KL Rahul got out, it seemed the innings had floundered. The way he batted after that, he has the strength, he updated his batting software when he was injured. He has started playing like a proper batsman," said Chopra.
The 43-year-old signed off by highlighting that Hardik Pandya employs a specific tactic against seam bowlers and his dismissal at an inopportune moment had a massive adverse impact on Team India's final score.
"There is a specific game plan that he will go deep inside the crease against fast bowlers and keep his weight forward despite that, so that he is not off-position while playing the shots. He has been consistently scoring runs, whether it is spin or fast bowling and was actually upset that he got out at the wrong time. If he had kept on playing, 390 was also possible," concluded Chopra.
Hardik Pandya was dismissed off the last ball of the 39th over, with the India score reading 276/6. Despite few lusty blows from Shardul Thakur, the hosts could add only 53 runs in the last eleven overs and even got bowled out with ten deliveries to spare.