Hardik Pandya : Neither here, nor there
People's opinion about Hardik Pandya changes as frequently as his hairstyle does. One day he's the dynamic all-rounder who's going to be the next Kapil Dev and the other day he's not of any use in the team. So after a shattering display by the Indian team which evoked the harsh memories of their disappointing tours of 2014 and 2011 questions are again being raised on the energetic all-rounder.
You can get an idea how much a fast bowling all-rounder is valued in cricket by the fact that someone like Stuart Binny has been in and out of the Indian team in the past. He was part of the Indian squad in 2015 world cup and part of the 2014 Indian squad which toured England. I mean he is a decent player but not of that level.
So when Hardik Pandya announced himself to the world during the IPL with his swashbuckling ability to strike the ball and with the ability to bowl with speed around 135-140 consistently he was fast-tracked to the international level.
Soon comparisons with Kapil Dev and Jack Kallis were being made. And he has shown a lot of potential of becoming a great all-rounder with outstanding performances here and there.
The knock in the champions trophy final, the final over against Bangladesh in Asia cup, the hundred against Sri Lanka at home, the knock in the first test match against South Africa and few more. He has shown great potential.
But as the nation looks up to this charismatic young all-rounder in the quest for those elusive overseas wins he has failed to perform according to everyone's expectations. He's just been neither here, nor there.
He needs to be a batting all-rounder. He can't be everything. I'm in no way an expert and maybe in future, he does become equally good bowler which he has the potential for but he doesn't look like a convincing bowler as of now. All the all-rounders there have been in cricket, they have been great in one aspect of their game and the other aspect came as an added bonus.
Take Kallis for example. He could have easily made the South African team on basis of his batting even if he didn't bowl and still would have been considered a legend. Kapil Dev also was a bowler first then a batsman. Ben Stokes is also a batsman first and then bowler although his bowling looks equally good in the longer format. You can take the example of any good all-rounder and you'll find either their bowling or batting was really good and the other aspect came as a bonus.
Although Hardik Pandya is a good bowler and probably in future he'll be equally good on both aspect of his game but right now he should be a batsman who can bowl. Which he isn't right now. He comes to bat lower down the order at no.7-8 and then bowls as an extra bowler. He needs to have a more clearly defined role than this.