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All-round Pandya gives India a crucial balance of T20 against England

He said, I am putting a lot of mind while bowling. So, when I’m batting it helps me think as a bowler, and vice versa. He expresses the simplicity of his all-round success after Hardik Pandya’s T20 series win against England. Use your intuition as a bowler to second guess what will come next while still striking like a batsman; Straightforward or not, this is Pandya’s secret recipe. So far many all-rounders have tried to find out whether they are better batsmen or bowlers.

Skipper Virat Kohli has missed out on Pandya most times in recent times. Not once has India been able to make their best playing XI in the format since the resumption of cricket. They have intense competition on the strength of their reserves. Kohli realized how handicapped he was in ODIs in Australia last November, when his fifth bowler was under the pump and he did not have a reserve bowler in the top six to turn.

He had Pandya in the team but as a batsman only, he could not bowl him due to workload management. When Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell started their batting performance in the second ODI, a helpless Kohli broke the injury management code and forced Pandya to throw four overs. But how far could he go. The Pandya bowler, at Mend after a back surgery, was not ready then. He is now.

In each of the five T20 matches against England, Pandya posted his full over quota. He bowled the second over in the last two matches. In taking 2/16 in the fourth match, Pandya raced off-cutter when circumstances called for a slowing down, failing to increase the trend of teams playing a big role in India.

He scored 86 runs at a score of 140.98. His economy rate of 6.94 was one of only two sub-7s – Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s economy of 6.38 finished as the best on both sides. That bowling effect is what India lost for months.

Baroda’s all-rounder who started his international career off 11 balls, scoring 19 runs, has come a long way. Some of his back-breaking spells may have prompted him to hurt again, but he is back again with a fine-grained action, with a less prominent jump in delivery stride. Kohli said during the T20 series, in the next six to eight months he promised that he would try to make the team an all-rounder in all three formats. He plays for the team all the time and such players are priceless.

He would be priceless for Kohli’s plans with three white-ball World Cups to come in consecutive years. If he can maintain the bowling form shown in the England T20Is, and the batting form he has performed in the white-ball series in Australia, Pandya is longing for the captain for the match-winner. Playing as one batsman in ODIs in Australia, he scored two high quality 90 runs at a strike rate of 114.75. In both innings, the T20 power-hitter turned into one, supporting his defense to play a long innings, not even actually giving up the scoring through his reliable hitting methods.

In one-day cricket with the ball, Pandya gives, on average, seven overs in a match. Fifth bowler 70 per cent assignment. In the upcoming series, even though India chose to use him with more care, he may have older brother Krunal to share the duties of a fifth brother. Krunal, who recently shone as an all-rounder in the Vijay Hazare Trophy one-day tournament (5 wickets in 5 matches, 388 runs), was included in an Indian team in place of Ravindra Jadeja.

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