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"He is playing with others' ego" - Aakash Chopra lauds Hardik Pandya's all-round performance in 3rd India vs England ODI

Hardik Pandya got the better of Liam Livingstone with persistent short bowling.
Hardik Pandya got the better of Liam Livingstone with persistent short bowling.

Aakash Chopra has pointed out that Hardik Pandya played with the England batters' ego to dismiss them in the third ODI at Old Trafford.

Hardik registered figures of 4/24 in his seven overs as Team India bowled out the hosts for 259 runs in the series decider on Sunday, July 17. He followed that up with a blazing 71-run knock to help the Men in Blue register a five-wicket win and seal the series 2-1.

In a video shared on his YouTube channel, Aakash Chopra picked Hardik as his Player of the Match, elaborating:

"The Player of the Match was Rishabh Pant because he stayed till the end but my player of the match, as much as I love Rishabh Pant, it is impossible to ignore Hardik Pandya. Four wickets and 71 runs, and the four wickets were important ones. He is playing with others' ego."
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Chopra lauded the seam bowler for enticing the likes of Liam Livingstone and Jos Buttler to play one shot too many against short-pitched bowling. The cricketer-turned-commentator observed:

"'You can hit me, I have placed a fielder in the deep, Ravindra Jadeja is there'. He asks Liam Livingstone to hit one more and dismisses him every time. Jos Buttler - both were amazing catches from Ravindra Jadeja."

Both Livingstone and Buttler were brilliantly caught by Ravindra Jadeja in the deep while trying to play big shots off Pandya. Jason Roy and Ben Stokes were the 28-year-old's other two victims, both also falling prey to the extra bounce generated by the seam-bowling all-rounder.


"Hardik Pandya is the most valuable player if he is fit" - Aakash Chopra

Hardik Pandya was the early aggressor in his partnership with Rishabh Pant
Hardik Pandya was the early aggressor in his partnership with Rishabh Pant

Praising Pandya's effort with the bat, Aakash Chopra placed the Baroda all-rounder on a high pedestal, saying:

"After that India were struggling, they had lost four wickets for 72 runs. You were stuck and the job Hardik Pandya did there, he was exceptional."

Chopra added:

"Is he the most valuable Indian player in white-ball cricket? You can take anyone's name, but in my opinion, Hardik Pandya is the most valuable player if he is fit."

The 44-year-old went on to state that Pandya provides the required balance to the Indian team. Chopra explained:

"There is no one close to him. You might get options for batters and bowlers, they might not be that good, but the job can be done. But what Hardik is doing, no one can do that. He brings the balance, you write 11 players' names but 12 play."

He concluded:

"He is an absolute rockstar. Put his name first on the team sheet."
Hardik Pandya is fast becoming India’s most important player in white-ball cricket. A fit Hardik is simply priceless. And yeah…you may try to find his replacements but there are none in India ATM.

Hardik's 71 runs came off just 55 balls and were studded with 10 fours. He strung together a 133-run partnership with Rishabh Pant for the fifth wicket to rescue India from 72/4. Pant smashed an unbeaten 125 to take Team India home after his partner's dismissal.

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Edited by Anantaajith Ra
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