Former India skipper Kapil Dev isn’t quite satisfied with Hardik Pandya’s recent showing with the willow in South Africa. Kapil, who is widely deemed as one of the greatest all-rounders to play the game, wants Pandya to put some more effort on his batting as that is his primary skill as a multi-tasking cricketer.
After his 93 in the first innings of opening Test against South Africa in Cape Town, Pandya registered the scores of 1, 15, 6, 0, 4, 3*, 14, 9, 0, 13*, 21 in his next 11 innings across formats in the remaining matches.
"He (Pandya) has shown the glimpse. He has the talent and the ability. Comparing with anyone put more pressure on him. I would like to see him go and express himself, enjoy himself," Kapil quoted by PTI as saying on the sidelines of the Laureus World Sports Award.
"I would like to see him in the team for one reason, definitely either as a bowler or as batsman. He has to work little harder on his batting because he is a batsman all-rounder. If he can perform a little more with the bat, the bowling will come easy to him and that's what happens to all-rounders," he added.
Kapil believes Pandya is still in his early days in international cricket and everyone is expecting too much from him.
"We have started expecting too much from him soon but I think he has the ability and is one of the finest athletes in the team. But he has to work harder to achieve success as an all-rounder," the 59-year-old said.
When asked about next year's ICC Cricket World Cup, Dev said that India will need both current skipper Virat Kohli's aggression and his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni's calmness to lift the trophy for the third time.
"If you can have the combination there is nothing wrong because you need to have somebody on the field who is calm and quiet and also understand the game and somebody who is very aggressive," the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian skipper asserted.
"But if everybody is very aggressive, then it's difficult. And again if everyone is calm, then also it is difficult. So if you can have a combination of both aggression and calmness, I think it will help the team," he explained.
During the 58-day long South Africa tour, Team India won both the limited series (ODIs and T20Is) convincingly besides conceding the closely fought three-match Test series 1-2. While the Men in Blue clinched the six-match ODI series with a stunning margin of 5-1, they won the three-match T20I series 2-1.
On being asked to comment on India's tour of South Africa, Kapil said: "They (India) could have done better in the Test series but they ended really well. They won hands down in the shorter formats in South Africa, which we never did in the past. It was outstanding display. Had they played the first two Tests, a little better it could have been a different story altogether."
"Virat was brilliant but I think the wrist spinners have really done a great job. Just a year back (Ravindra) Jadeja and (Ravichandran) Ashwin, two top-class cricketers, were there but now they are not getting a chance and that shows the depth of Indian cricket at the moment.
"It's amazing how despite some top cricketers like Sachin, Rahul, Sehwag, Laxman retiring in the last 5-6 years, this Indian team has bounced back so quickly and that's a good sign for Indian cricket," he elaborated.
Kapil concluded by saying that the current crop of Indian cricketers have in them to rewrite the history books in their forthcoming overseas assignments in England and Australia.
"His [Virat Kohli] character shows that he believes he can do it but for that he has to work very hard. As a captain, you have to take the team along with you and if he can do it, there is no reason why India cannot win in England and Australia. I have no doubt this team can do that but they have to work very hard," Kapil Dev signed off.