Since the retirement of legendary Kapil Dev in 1994, Team India have always wished for a quality all-rounder who can deliver the quota of 10 overs as a pace spearhead or as a third seamer and can hit some meaty blows with the bat. In the last 24 years, India had unearthed quite a few seam bowling all-rounders, who showed a lot of promise but unfortunately faded away with the passage of time.
However, the 24-year-old Hardik Pandya seems to be in a different league as he is proving his worth with some spectacular showings of late. After proving his mettle in the limited-overs format, Pandya has now started to show the glimpse of his immense all-round abilities in the 5-day game as well. In the first Test against South Africa at Newlands, Hardik scored a crucial 93 in the first innings besides scalping 3 wickets in the match.
Even though Pandya has taken the Indian cricket fraternity by storm and many cricket pundits have even termed him as the next Kapil Dev, but former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin feels that such statements are uncalled for since the youngster has a long way to go to be compared with an all-time great like Kapil.
"It's not advisable to do that. It's not good. Because there can never be another Kapil Dev. It's very difficult to get another Kapil Dev as amount of hard workload he took over a period of time, he used to bowl 20-25 overs in a day. Not many people can do it now," Azharuddin said according to IANS.
The 54-year-old Azhar also lauded India's 63-run win in the third Test against South Africa. However, he was critical of India skipper Virat Kohli’s decision to drop Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ajinkya Rahane for the second test.
"They could have played. But the captain thinks in a different way, the team thinks in a different way. Outside everybody in India felt they should have played," Azhar opined.
“It's good that we won the last Test. We played like No.1 team on that wicket. We redeemed our prestige. India bowled and batted well."
Azhar credited the bowlers for performing exceptionally well throughout the series and asserted that they were unlucky not to win the series.
"The bowlers have won the last test match. They really put South African batsmen under pressure. We were bit unlucky that we could not get the series our way."
The former skipper also backed Kohli as captain, saying his record speaks for itself.
"I think he has done well. His record is good and it speaks for itself. Every captain has his say. Nothing like that," Azharuddin concluded.
(With IANS Inputs)