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Kapil Dev believes that Hardik Pandya needs to “work harder on his batting” as it is his main skill as an all-rounder.
Dev pointed out that Pandya failed to live up to expectations with the bat during India’s recent tour of South Africa.
While he started on the right foot by scoring a brilliant 93 in the first innings of the first Test in Cape Town, Pandya’s tour went downhill from there as he failed to score another half-century.
The 24-year-old averaged 19.83 in the Test series, 8.66 in the ODI series and 34 in the Twenty20 series.
“I would like to see him in the team for one reason, definitely either as a bowler or as batsman,” Dev told PTI as quoted by The New Indian Express. “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.”
Pandya has often been compared to the legendary all-rounder, but Dev feels that there is too much pressure being put on the Gujarat native.
“He (Pandya) has shown the glimpse,” Dev said. “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.
“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.”
In regards to next year’s World Cup, the 59-year-old conceded that captain Virat Kohli has to fire on all cylinders, while his predecessor, MS Dhoni, has to remain calm and composed.
“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,” he said. “But if everybody is very aggressive, then its 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.”
Dev added that he was highly impressed with the way in which India bounced back after being beaten 2-1 in the Test series against South Africa.
India won the ODI series 5-1, which secured them their first-ever bilateral ODI series win in South Africa. They also triumphed 2-1 in the Twenty20 series that followed.
“They (India) could have done better in the Test series but they ended really well,” he said. “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.
“Its 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 thats a good sign for Indian cricket.”
When asked how India will fare during their tours of England and Australia later this year, Dev said: “His [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.”