Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Ex-India pace bowler Raju Kulkarni has said that all-rounder Hardik Pandya needs to improve his bowling if he is to start emulating the feats of the legendary Kapil Dev.
However, Kulkarni, who represented India in three Tests and 10 ODIs, pointed out that Pandya is still in the infancy stages of his career and will get better as time goes on.
But, for the time being, the 55-year-old feels it is too early to compare Pandya with Kapil.
“If you are an all-rounder, you have to be a bowling all-rounder,” Kulkarni, who played alongside Kapil, told DNA India at the Cricket Club of India (CCI), where the Legends Club were celebrating Kapil’s 59th birthday
“Or you have to be a batsman of a very high standard and who can also bowl. With Hardik, bowling has to be his main department. All-rounders are genuine, who can take five wickets on a given day, score a hundred and field brilliantly.
“Hardik is lacking in the bowling department. He doesn’t look a bowler who takes five wickets on any given day. He has to work on it. He is still young but is a very confident young man and will improve.”
Former left-arm seamer Karsan Ghavri, who used to bowl with Kapil in the 1970s and 1980s, shared the same thoughts, saying that Pandya is nowhere near Kapil’s level at the moment.
“Hardik Pandya is nowhere near Kapil Dev,” he said. “And, even if he has to reach there, he has got a long, long way to go. It’s a very difficult comparison, but (Hardik) he is nowhere near Kapil Dev right now.
“Time will tell on how far he (Hardik) can reach close to Kapil’s achievement or whatever Kapil has done.”
Kapil played 131 Tests and scored 5,248 runs at an average of 31.05. He also took 434 wickets at an average of 29.64.
He also featured in 225 ODIs and accumulated 3,783 runs at an average of 23.79. In regards to his bowling, he claimed 253 wickets at an average of 27.45.
Pandya, meanwhile, has represented India in four Tests, 32 ODIs and 27 Twenty20 Internationals and averages 54.40, 33.44 and 10.26 with the bat respectively.
He has also picked up seven, 35 and 23 wickets at an average of 25, 35.48 and 23.82 respectively.