Hardik Pandya knows how to play in different situations: Rahul Dravid

27 September 2017, 12:13 | Robert Harris

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A five-wicket win in the third game of the five-match series on Sunday gave India an unassailable 3-0 lead over Steve Smith's Australia. That time (in Chennai) I thought that (Adam) Zampa was bowling and I knew that I could hit a six off him anytime I wanted to.

Indore: He has become the cynosure of all eyes with his six-hitting prowess but Hardik Pandya says it's not a skill he has developed overnight as he has been clearing the ropes easily since childhood.

Pandya's knock on Sunday included 5 fours and 4 sixes while Ali hit seven 4s and a whopping 8 sixes in his knock.

Pandya's 72-ball 78 and his crucial fifth-wicket stand with Manish Pandey, who remained unbeaten on 36, helped the hosts chase down their 294-run target with 13 balls to spare. "That's why I waited till the seventh over and then I got the opportunity to change the momentum and eventually one over changed the momentum in that game", he said. "Rather than seeing it as a challenge, I saw it as an opportunity to do something nice for the team".

"If you think that was my turning point, then you are most welcome, but I think I played quite well in the IPL before that too", he said. It's about being positive and backing yourself and if I feel like it, I go for it.

After clinching the series, Pandya, in his typical swagger, stated that reading the situation was important. Incidentally, even John Wright, the former India coach and a talent scout for Mumbai Indians, was also in attendance for the match and it didn't come as a surprise that Pandya was signed up for his base price of Rs. 10 lakh in the auction a few weeks later. Pandya showed maturity after being promoted to number four in the batting order.

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Dravid, who was Pandya's coach during an India A tour of Australia previous year, hoped that the current India A players are able to emulate Pandya's batting approach. The incident occurred in the 28th over of the Indian innings after Pandya flicked a delivery from Cummins to deep square leg.

It (batting at No. 4) does not make any difference where I bat. "This is the first time I played so many balls, so it was great", he said.

However legendary spinner Bishan Singh Bedi believes India have not been tested by opposition teams, barring the Champions Trophy final in June against Pakistan which they lost by 180 runs.

As the team management goes about finding the best team for the World Cup project, Pandya's form remains central to the balance of the side. I focus only on the things which I can focus on and right now, I'm just playing my cricket.

Pandya's all-round feats have given rise to comparisons with Kapil Dev.



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