WI vs IND: Hardik Pandya is a completely changed guy, says Sanjay Manjrekar
WI vs IND: Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar claimed that Hardik Pandya has evolved entirely and is now more than just a hard-hitting batter.
Rishabh Pant’s explosive century and Hardik Pandya’s fifty helped Team India defeat England by five wickets in the third and final game of the three-match series on Sunday in Manchester. India defeated England 2-1 in the ODI series to clinch the victory.
Pandya scored 71 runs in just 55 deliveries while taking four wickets and only giving up 24 runs in the most recent ODI against England.
Speaking on SPORTS18’s show ‘SPORTS OVER THE TOP’, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar said, “Absolutely, Hardik Pandya is a completely changed guy. First of all, picking him as one of their first players, before that his fitness was a problem, and his batting was an issue for the earlier franchise. Not only did they pick him, and back him as one of their marquee players they gave him the captaincy.”
“Just the way the league turned out for him. Hardik Pandya is a changed man now, there’s a lot of maturity, responsibility and ambition as well. I see a sense of ambition coming into him. And once you have that, wanting to grow within Indian Cricket then there’s tremendous motivation. He’s also addressing himself in the third person now. Hardik Pandya has arrived,” he added.
“Yes, just hoping that Hardik can keep his fitness together. No issues with Rishabh Pant. What we saw in that last one day, I completely floored by the sheer talent and ability of these two guys, temperament as well, built a long partnership and how easily, in the end, India won. Thanks to Rishabh Pant for staying there till the end. So yes, high-quality batters, and they’re going to be batting mostly at number 4 and 5. Whether it’s T20 Cricket or 50 overs cricket or Pant could be opening as well. In 2019, we had a lot of issues finding a proper middle order but now we have some quality supply,” he said.
The kind of record Pant has in test cricket, according to Manjrekar, makes him remarkable even though he occasionally comes across as careless when he steps out to bat.
In the last ODI of the three-match series at Manchester, Rishabh Pant’s unbeaten 125* and his 133-run stand with Hardik Pandya enabled India chase down 260 and win the series 2-1.
Talking about Pant’s evolving character and temperament as a batsman, Manjrekar said, “No, he’s always responsible. He may seem irresponsible sometimes when he gets out, when he gets out playing one of those kinds of shots. We’ve got to look at it as somebody getting out at slips because the game has changed. And that is Rishabh Pant’s primary sort of skill. He’s got to sound different but when he extends himself, he tries these shots. The winning runs, for example, it’s a part of his basic attacking, array of shots that he has.”
“So, responsibility wise I think this guy is just incredible. Because of the kind of record he has in test cricket. You can’t play that kind of shots if you are not responsible by nature, wanting to win the game. And in this one day as well you could see him. He was responsibility personified; he was calmness personified. I got very excited watching Rishabh Pant because there’s something about this country. That we keep producing these kinds of batters every generation,” he added.