New Delhi: India skipper Virat Kohli might have compared Hardik Pandya to the likes of England all-rounder Ben Stokes, but former India opener and Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir feels that there is still some effort that the Mumbai Indians all-rounder has to put in before he can be considered as one of the best all-rounders in world cricket.
“Look, he's got to improve a lot, especially when it comes to his batting. You can't just play one way. At the moment, he can do that because you have your top three and four scoring runs for you. So, you have the platform to go out there and play the way you want to. But ultimately, you have to tighten your technique because the moment you lose two-three wickets early, with him batting at No. 6 or 7, he has to have a little bit of solidity.
“At the moment, according to me, he's not there yet. He needs to work a lot on his technical side. Maybe he can be an attacking option, but at the same time you need to have a solid technique for that as well. Right now, you can't compare his two or three innings because he has got the platform to play the way he wants to play,” Gambhir told DNA.
Earlier Kohli said that Pandya has all the skill sets required to emulate world's premier all-rounder Stokes.
"I have a lot of faith in him (Hardik) as far as any format is concerned. If he grows in confidence you see someone like Ben Stokes, what he does for England, brings in great balance as an all-rounder. I see no reason why Hardik Pandya can't become that for India," Kohli said at the post- match press conference after the first Test.
Kohli singled out Pandya for special mention, praising his second innings bowling apart from his debut half-century. "In the first innings, he didn't get opportunity to bowl much but I think in the second innings, he bowled really nicely on a wicket that wasn't offering much and he kept it in the right areas," said Kohli.
The skipper was impressed as to how Pandya used the shirt ball and also the speed at which he bowled. "He used the bouncer well. He bowls around 135, so he is a great asset and I have mentioned this before as well," he said.
His whirlwind 50 in the first innings was the difference between a total of 550 and 600. "We would have been 540-550 in the first innings. He got those 50 runs quickly and that saves you time as well. That gives you another 15 overs to bowl at the opposition. And his fielding is also tremendous."
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