NOTTINGHAM: From a cocky why-is-he-there cricketer, Hardik Pandya is suddenly at the centre of a lot of positive attention. The allrounder, who hardly looked threatening as a bowler in the first two Test matches, suddenly turned it around with a spell of 5-28 on Sunday afternoon at Trent Bridge.
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Kapil Dev, way back in 1981, came up with the same figures against Australia in the Melbourne Test and India notched up one of their most famous come-from-behind wins. The Kapil Dev-Hardik Pandya comparison these days is one of the favourite topics of the Twitterati and when suddenly a piece of stat looks similar, there is a tendency to go on an overdrive.
But Pandya, despite all his flashy ways that don’t always go down well with critics, gave the impression on Sunday that he has hasn’t lost perspective. When the Kapil comparison came up in the press conference, there was not an iota of disrespect in Pandya as he said: “I am no Kapil Dev, I never wanted to be one.” It was just an effort to tone down the sense of expectation around him because probably he knows it’s not possible to be a second Kapil Dev.
“He is a legend, but let me be Hardik Pandya. I am good at what I am. I reached here till now, played 40 ODIs and 10 Tests being Hardik Pandya, not Kapil Dev…Let’s stop comparing me with anyone, I will be happy if you don’t,” the Baroda allrounder said.
While Pandya did his best to underplay the Kapil comparisons, he seemed to be more of his attacking self when there were queries about Michael Holding’s criticism about the justification of playing him as a bowling allrounder. “First of all, I don’t play for them. They are getting paid for saying things which I don’t even want to know or care about. I play for my country. I don’t care what they say, it’s their job to say and it’s my job to play for my country. My team is happy with me, nothing else matters,” Pandya came down hard on his critics.