Veteran India pacer Zaheer Khan feels that the flamboyant all-rounder Hardik Pandya has understood and analyzed what the team needs him to do. Hardik was in phenomenal form with the bat in the recently concluding T20I series against South Africa. The 28-year-old scored 117 runs at a strike rate of 153.95.
Zaheer said that Hardik was his player to watch out for from the Proteas series and the flamboyant all-rounder did well on his return to the Indian team.
“I did touch upon this beginning of the series where my player to watch out from South Africa series was Hardik. Purely because once the IPL is over, he was coming off the high as well of winning the trophy, he was in a different role, he was in the leadership role,” Zaheer told Cricbuzz.
The veteran pacer said that winning the World Cup will be the biggest motivation for Hardik at this stage and the start of it has been phenomenal for him with his performance against the Proteas.
“So all those things were going to matter and the next milestone for him, ambition, motivation is going to come from the World Cup. He himself has been very vocal about World Cup being one of the things on his agenda. His focus is going to be getting ready for that big one. From that point of view, the start has been phenomenal, this was important for the Indian team as well that he plans things around this,” he added.
Zaheer said that the communication from the head coach Rahul Dravid has been clear for Pandya and the all-rounder has all0rounder has analyzed what is required from him in the team.
“Rahul Dravid was also clear about keeping a very open channel of communication with him we’ve seen it in Sri Lanka series as well and the T20 World Cup followed after IPL 2021, around that time there was a lot of concern. He has understood and analysed what is gonna require from him, he understood the team’s needs, which is a big positive. We hope from the Indian team’s point of view he stays on his path and really charts his course towards that big one in Australia,” he said.
After leading the Gujarat Titans to their maiden IPL title on their debut season, Hardik has been named the stand-in captain of Team India for the Ireland tour.
Zaheer said that leading the country is the highest honour for any cricketer but Hardik doesn’t have to overcomplicate it by thinking too much.
“There is no doubt about his leadership qualities but leading your country is the highest honour for any cricketer so you just got to cherish the moment and enjoy that, rather than thinking about what’s coming next and all. Leading your country is something special and I’m sure that’s how will also be looking at it. Not overcomplicating it and thinking about how can I will be here for long term,” he added.