Former Indian opener Aakash Chopra heaped praise on Hardik Pandya for making the most of his resources as a captain in the T20I series against New Zealand, which the visitors won by 1-0 after the third game at McLean Park, Napier ended in a tie on DLS score on Tuesday.
Chopra was impressed with the fact that Pandya made Deepak Hooda contribute with the ball. Hooda was at his best against the Kiwis in the second T20I as he returned with impressive figures of 4-10 in the 2.5 overs he bowled and played a key role in skittling out the opposition at 126. Hooda also bowled one over in the third T20I and conceded only three runs.
Pandya didn’t bowl himself in the two matches but made the most of Hooda’s bowling services. Meanwhile, it has been noticed that full-time Indian captain Rohit Sharma didn’t back either Deepak Hooda or Venkatesh Prasad when the latter was part of the team.
Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube Channel, “I liked Hardik Pandya’s captaincy style a lot, like getting Deepak Hooda to bowl. We saw Rohit (Sharma) was not doing that, Rohit was not getting Venkatesh Iyer to bowl as well. Rohit doesn’t get the sixth bowler to bowl. He does that in the IPL but not for India, there is something.”
“Hardik Pandya is saying he doesn’t want to bowl, Deepak Hooda will bowl, or he can send him up the order, he can bowl him at the death and in the powerplay also, or get through some overs by bowling him in the middle.”
On the other hand, Hardik Pandya had led Gujarat Titans to glory when he led for the first time in the IPL. Pandya also scored 487 runs in the tournament and Chopra feels the IPL made him a mature captain.
“The IPL has made him a mature captain. It’s a fantastic take because he is using the bowlers at the right places. In the last match, it seemed Yuzi (Chahal) was not bowling well, so he gave him three overs only. He ends Bhuvi’s overs slightly early.”
“He is looking very good in my opinion. He probably brings that belief and calmness into the unit as well. It is interesting because you generally see Hardik as an aggressive player but he is a very smart player. That aggressive player is asking his players to be the best they can be, that’s what it seems.”
Hardik Pandya has definitely led with aplomb and he did a fine job for the team as a leader. Pandya also scored an imperative knock of 30 runs off just 18 balls in the third T20I against the Blackcaps.