Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar on Monday (September 3) clarified his 'harsh' criticism on Hardik Pandya. Gavaskar had questioned Pandya’s skills as an all-round cricketer after India’s 60-run defeat in the fourth Test against England at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
"Do you want to call Hardik Pandya an all-rounder? Whoever wants to call Pandya an all-rounder, may call! But I don't think so," Gavaskar had said during the post-match analysis on air.
However, the legendary India opener cleared up his remarks, saying that India are not utilizing Pandya’s talent in the best possible way.
"Hardik Pandya has the talent. He has shown glimpses of his talent in the past. But I feel India haven't used Hardik Pandya as much as they should have either with the bat or ball," Gavaskar told India Today.
"But not just Hardik but also the other players who are being criticised, it is only natural because the fans are really disappointed with this loss. The team should actually take inspiration from all this criticism and show the world what they can actually do," he added.
Despite being picked in the side as a premier all-rounder, Pandya has bowled only 64.1 overs in the four Tests thus far. With the bat, the 24-year-old has scored 164 runs in 8 innings.
Given that India had won 9 of their last 10 Test series, there were plenty of hopes from Virat Kohli and company. However, the No.1 ranked Test side couldn’t quite prove their mettle on English soil as they conceded an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series. Moreover, it is India’s second successive overseas Test series loss after the 2-1 series defeat in South Africa earlier this year.
"The only team which had the potential to win in South Africa, England and Australia was India. That is why the fans, including myself, are even more disappointed with their performances. This team couldn't achieve what it should have. It's not just Hardik Pandya's fault alone. Some of the other players barring Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and the seam bowlers, haven't lived up to the expectations," Gavaskar concluded.