Former Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralidharan has defended India’s all-rounder Hardik Pandya despite his poor performance in the ODI series. If he were the captain, Hardik would have definitely been in his team’s playing XI. Hardik said Pandya was a special player. He said he may not have given 100 per cent of his bowling as he returned to bowling in international cricket. He said he was an asset in both batting and bowling.
Muralitharan told ESPN Cricinfo, ‘Hardik is a special player. If I was the captain, he would have added me to any team in the world, IPL team, Australia team … any team in the world. This is because the ball is capable of throwing at 140 km / h and adjusting. He can bowl slowly. I think he couldn’t do much with the injury.
The second thing is that his batting is also special. We cannot accept that they play like Nitish Rana or Suryakumar Yadav. He is a short-lived batsman who can score centuries in 40 balls. I expect this from them. Appreciating Pandya’s character, Muralitharan explained how Team India should not expect to play big innings like their other top-order batsmen.
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Former off-spinner Hardik believes that the ideal role should be for the player to step down from playing big shots, which could give the team some momentum at the end. He may come out in the first two overs but if he plays 20-30, he will score 50 runs. This is what is expected of Hordik Pandya. If you expect him to score 90 off 70 balls, he won’t. He’s not that kind of player.