17th October 1995, a date to remember, saw one of the most extraordinary player to retire from International Cricket. A person who was a trendsetter and had graced the golden pages of Indian Cricket History, Kapil Dev.
Ever since he retired, India has kept an eye out for a possible replacement of a reliable pace bowling all rounder. During the 90’s and after the 1983 World Cup, people suddenly started witnessing the diminishing stance of the Indian Cricket Team. Keeping in mind that India gave the platform and the opportunities to the legends of the game namely Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly.
They failed in identifying and acquiring a much needed pace bowling all-rounder. Taking in account the decade after Kapil Dev’s retirement, there is a lot to judge about the worst phase of cricketing history that struck India. Later this problem was solved with Irfan Pathan who made his debut against Australia in 2004. Unfortunately due to lack of form and pace, Irfan too had to be dropped from the squad.
Fortunately, due to the presence of the richest cricketing league, Indian Premier League which gave the players an golden opportunity to showcase their talents saw the uprising of many young talents. But most important of all is the Indian Cricket Team’s all rounder Hardik Pandya. Playing a vital role for his team, Hardik Pandya steps into the roles with plenty of possibilities. Having him in the team concludes us with a successful solution to two problem, which India faced through the years. 1) Replacement for a finisher like Mahendra Singh Dhoni 2) Pace Bowling all-rounder Being a blessing for his team, Hardik Pandya might not be the solution to the Indian problem. Under the captaincy of Virat Kohli and mentorship of Ravi Shastri, India failed to rectify the mistake which they repeated yet again.
The difference being just the players. During the service Irfan Pathan provided the team, he saw alterations to his batting order from time and again. This resulted in him not capitalising in easy situations but instead failing them. Similarly, being spectators of the third ODI where India played Australia in Indore, we saw the Mumbaikar Hardik Pandya being promoted to the top order and demoting Manish Pandya who is a top order specialist.
As the saying goes “Chance favours those in motion”, Luckily Hardik survived and went on to score 78 and guiding India to become the top nought team in ODI rankings. But how long can this go? How will he be the solution on the long run? Being a specialist in both pace bowling and a lower order batsmen, his key role and contribution towards the team is to finish off matches and take India to glory.
Pandya needs to be trained to be a lower order finisher so that it would be easy for him to replace Dhoni in the coming years. By pushing him up the order will not only give him the burden and pressure but it will not groom him as a finisher. All Indian supporters hope that the Indian selectors will find a solution to the problems mentioned above which let might lead to Hardik Pandya in becoming the next Kapil Dev, indirectly solving their long term problem.