Dhoni says, Hardik Pandya is a game changer

February 25, 2016 13:55
Dhoni says, Hardik Pandya is a game changer

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was impressed with Hardik Pandya’s ability to hit big shots from the first ball, said that, he has proved to be a “game changer” for India with his all-round talent.

After hitting a quick fire 18-ball-31, Pandya bowled four tight overs with figures of 1 for 23 in India’s 45-run win over hosts Bangladesh in the Asia Cup T20 opener.  

Speaking about Hardik at the press conference, post match, Dhoni said, “Good to see him bowl four overs. It will give us a lot of strength - three fast bowlers and two proper spinners. You don’t need to change your team as every base is covered. People may feel that having seven proper batsman is a luxury, but what’s the harm, if we have someone like him. If he gets going, he gets you those 15 runs extra. If 160 is par-score, he can give you 165-175. It is good for bowlers. We wanted somebody like him. He is a game-changer.”

When asked about his instructions to Pandya, Dhoni said, “We don’t need to tell Hardik anything. He knows only one thing that is to hit the ball, that’s what he does. He is someone who likes to clear the boundary. The more games he will play, better he will get. But definitely he has a skill, which is a difficult one that is to hit from the first ball.”

“To a lot of extent, people who can bat and bowl, are able to contribute in this format. More all-rounders you have, better it is. At times, you can go with four specialist bowlers if you have 4-5 good part-timers. In good conditions, Yuvi, Raina can do the job. In other formats you can debate, but T20 is a game of all-rounders. If I want, he (Hardik) can give me one, two or four overs,” Dhoni added.

Reacting to the T20 performances, the captain said, “I won’t like to comment on T20 performances as it is entirely different from 50 overs. In T20, you can get away in the four overs, but in ODI, you will bowl for five overs, then come back for a second and third spell, it will be completely different scenario, but he is definitely somebody, who has the talent and can do the job for us.”

Apart from Pandya, Dhoni even spoke about Rohit Sharma’s 83 saying, “Overall, wicket was a difficult one to bat on. It was after 20 overs, when we scored 160, it might have given an impression that wicket had become easier to bat on, which was not the case. That makes Rohit’s innings even more special because, after three wickets fell, we needed a partnership.

That’s when Hardik went and started playing his shots. At that time, Rohit made sure Hardik gets strike. “Rohit himself used pace of the deliveries bowled back of length. He played cut shots, exploited the field. Because of Rohit, Hardik expressed himself and played those big shots.”

When asked about his back spasm problem, the captain said, “The body remains warm after the match, so it might give fake signals. You can only judge the next day as to how the condition is. I was under a lot of dilemma and found it difficult to convince people that I will make sure that I go through 20 overs. There are still two more days before the next match [against Pakistan] and luckily we have Parthiv around.”

By Phani Ch

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