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Legendary West Indies pace bowler Michael Holding feels that Hardik Pandya should not be classified as a Test all-rounder since he does not have much of an impact with either the bat or ball.
In India’s ongoing Test series against England, Pandya has scored 90 runs in the first two Tests at an average of 22.50 and taken three wickets at an average of 37.33.
Given how Pandya has performed thus far, Holding admitted that he is less than impressed with the 24-year-old’s contributions.
“The [Indian] attack has not been the right balance,” Holding told ESPNcricinfo. “Apparently they are playing Hardik Pandya as an all-rounder to help out with the bowling. When he bowls he isn’t as effective as he should be. If he was a good batsman, if he was getting runs – 60s, 70s, not even regular hundreds – at the number at which he bats and then he bowls and gets two or three wickets, happy, hallelujah. Happy with that.
“But he is not getting the amount of runs that can then allow him to get a wicket or two in the Test match. That doesn’t work.
“I don’t think he does a lot with the ball. That is number one. He is not consistent. He does not have the control that puts batsmen under pressure constantly. He will bowl a couple of good deliveries, yes, but you need to have the control to put batsmen under pressure consistently. And he doesn’t have that.
“If you are going to be a frontline bowler anywhere in the world, if you are going to be someone that your captain can rely on, that can throw you the ball and expect you to get wickets and expect you to have control, he is not really the man in my opinion.”
When asked if Pandya should be selected for the third Test in Nottingham, which gets underway on Saturday, Holding said: “Not if I have someone else who is fit. If there is no one else, sure you have to play him. If there is someone else that is a specialist batsman or specialist bowler I will certainly prefer that.
“There must be someone that can bat better if they want a batsman, there must be someone who can bowl better if they want a bowler. But it seems as if they are trying to fill two spots with one person. He (Pandya) is not there yet.”
Despite his scathing criticism of Pandya, Holding is confident that the Indian all-rounder will continue to develop his game and get better as his career progresses.
“I am not going to tell anyone that you won’t be there because he is a young man. But he is not there yet,” Holding said. “I heard a mention, when I was working in South Africa: ‘he is the next Kapil Dev’. I ain’t going to tell anybody he’s not going to be the next Kapil Dev, but he is nowhere near there yet. And they need to find someone who can contribute a lot more to this team right now.”