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Virat Kohli on Hardik Pandya: We have 120% faith in him 

Umaima Saeed
671   //    15 Aug 2017, 18:59 IST

Pandya made his first Test ton in Pallekele

What’s the story?

India completely outplayed Sri Lanka and whitewashed them 3-0 in the just-concluded Test series. Hardik Pandya, who made his Test debut in the series, was simply outstanding with the bat. Skipper Kohli lavished praise on the 24-year-old Baroda all-rounder, saying his performances spoke for him. 

“Hardik Pandya's performance, I don't think I need add any more lines, his performance has spoken for itself. People might have problems with the kind of demeanour he has or the belief he carries with himself, but we, certainly in the team, have no doubts on that. We let him be who he is, we let him express himself. You know, a guy who can get a fifty and a hundred in his first three games batting at No.8 has to have something special in him,” Kohli said in the post-match conference. 

He also emphasized on Pandya’s all-round abilities, and the crucial breakthroughs he provides the team with. 

“And the innings that he played here, after being 320 for 6, it wasn't just mad slogging. He actually used his brain and batted with the tail which I think is a great sign for us. He brings in great balance to the team, he's a gun fielder and he gives you those crucial breakthroughs, he's very handy with the ball and we know what he can do with the bat as well. All doubts aside from the outside, inside the team we absolutely have 120% faith in him.”

In case you didn’t know... 

Pandya smashed a 96-ball 108 in the dead rubber for his maiden international century, following a splendid half century in his maiden foray in white flannels. Besides a hundred and fifty, he also picked up four wickets.

The heart of the matter

The Mumbai Indians all-rounder has been a terrific performer in limited-overs cricket since his debut in 2016. In 17 ODIs, he has scored 660 runs, while picking up 19 wickets. In the shortest format, he has 389 runs and 15 wickets from 18 innings. With Pandya’s entry into the international scene, India’s problem of a missing a quality all-rounder was solved.

What’s next?

Pandya has been selected in the ODI squad too against Sri Lanka. The series begins on August 20, and fans can only expect better performances from him in coloured clothes, a format he has made his own. 

Author’s take 

The young cricketer’s half century and century, in his first Test series, while batting at no. 8, is proof that this Indian team has a lot of quality options in not just Tests but all formats. 

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Umaima Saeed
Front seat at the HPCA, Himalayan peaks around, India-Pakistan on the ground, chicken momos in my mouth - my kind of ideal.
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