Having seen Hardik Pandya's request to everyone expressing 'please don't compare me with him' because "I am not Kapil Dev, never wanted to be", left-arm fast bowler Irfan Pathan has said that young Hardik shouldn't take it negatively.
The narrative that was started off by the media and the public, was then fuelled by a statement from MSK Prasad, the chairman of the selection committee. Prasad, after Pandya scored his maiden ton in Sri Lanka last year, was quoted saying, "our search for an all-rounder has been successful in the form of Hardik, If he stays grounded I am sure we will see him being compared to the legendary Kapil Dev in the times to come."
At the time, Pandya was very new to this and felt pleased about it, "If he (chief selector) says that then it obviously feels good. If someone compares you with such legends, you know. Even if I can be 10 percent of what he (Kapil Dev) was, I will be pretty happy in my life." but the much wiser Hardik Pandya doesn't like it anymore.
Irfan, who knows a thing and two about such comparisons with former all-rounders, having faced them himself in his prime days, talked about this and said, "Everybody came up to me and I remember being asked this Kapil Dev question. I had done well in Pakistan in 2006, standing up against Shoaib Akhtar with the bat, won the Perth Test match, the World T20 in 2007, It felt like a privilege. It added to my confidence than adding to the pressure,"
Irfan also went onto suggest that Hardik should take criticism and such comparisons in his stride and move on with his game for he is a mighty fine talent.
He said, "Everyone has different character and they handle things differently. I can't read his mind currently. But you know Kapil Dev was a once in a lifetime cricketer. For a player the mindset should be to take it positively, it should not weigh you down," and added, "I recall when I was new in Indian team, Rahul Dravid told me one thing that I always remember that the longer you play and the more senior you become, the pressure will become bigger, it will never reduce."
"While I felt lucky to be compared with Kapil Dev, I always maintained that I was a bowler who could also bat."
(Inputs from India Today)