AUS v IND 2020-21: Virat Kohli calls Hardik Pandya India's “bankable” match-winner for next 4-5 years

Pandya scored 42 not out off 22 balls in the 2nd T20I.

Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya celebrates 2nd T20I win | Getty Images

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli was lavished praise on in-form star all-rounder Hardik Pandya for his stunning form with the bat in the ongoing limited-overs series in Australia.

However, Team India suffered a 1-2 loss in the three-match ODI series against Australia, but Pandya played his part very well, scoring 210 runs in the recently concluded series and also continued his form in the ongoing T20I series as well against the Kangaroos.

The right-hander though couldn’t contribute much (16) in India’s 11-run win in the first T20I, but played a match-winning unbeaten knock of 44 in the second T20I to win the game for India by 6 wickets and clinch the three-match T20I series 2-0 against Australia in Sydney on Sunday.

Following his fluent batting in Australia against one of the world’s best bowling attacks, Kohli was just in awe for the Baroda all-rounder, saying India has found their finisher in Pandya while describing the 27-year as Team India’s “bankable” match-winner for the next 4-5 years.

Kohli said during the post-match interview after winning the 2nd T20I: “The reason was Hardik coming into the team in 2016 was pure ability. He has natural raw talent, and now he’s quite experienced having played quite a bit of T20 cricket in the IPL (Indian Premier League) and playing for India too.”

He further added, “Now he realizes that this is his time, the next four-five years, to become that bankable middle-order player that can win you games from anywhere. You need that finisher and he’s becoming that for us. He’s hungry, he’s got to keep getting better. His plans are right and I’m glad to see that. He plays with all his heart and he certainly got that competitive nature about him and also has the skill to execute that at the highest level.

Read Also: AUS v IND 2020-21: "He's creating a reputation for himself" - Zaheer Khan lauds Hardik Pandya

Meanwhile, Man of the Match Pandya said his “biggest goal” is to win the games for his country irrespective of conditions when the team needs him the most.

The all-rounder further noted, “I always believe as a cricketer you have to improve with time and I have taken some time but I think things are coming pretty well now. Now my biggest goal … (is) that I want to finish games where it matters the most.”

Pandya was also ready to bat at any position for India.

He signed off by saying, “If the time comes when I have to bat number four, I don’t mind. If the time comes where I have to finish the game, I have to do that job as well, whatever the team requires.”

(With Reuters Inputs)


By Rashmi Nanda - 07 Dec, 2020

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