Former South African skipper Shaun Pollock believes Virat Kohli loves Hardik Pandya’s aggressive attitude and will give him a long-run under his captaincy. India won the fifth One-Day International against South Africa by 73 runs to win their first-ever ODI series in the rainbow nation.
“I clearly get the impression that Kohli loves Pandya’s attitude. It’s very similar to the way Kohli plays his cricket. And because he loves that attitude there is a good chance that Pandya will get a long run in the side, to settle himself and cement his spot in the team,” Pollock said.
“That’s the nature of cricket if the captain likes the way a player goes about his business then that player will get an extra run (of opportunities).”
Pandya was instrumental with the ball at Port Elizabeth and took the crucial wicket of AB de Villiers other than the dismissal of JP Duminy.
“I liked Pandya’s attitude and approach in the Cape Town Test, the way he played that knock, and he is learning. He will be ultra positive in Indian conditions where he can take on the spinners. Lot of people have got potential, but to take that to the next level is always the key. He will learn the art of what he needs to do in England and Australia. He still needs to find how he wants to play, mix his aggression with sound technique and if he can get himself in for a period of time then I am sure he can learn,” added Pollock.
Pollock feels India need to be crystal clear whether two wrist spinners can take them through to long tournaments like World Cup. “If you look at their ODI statistics, Kuldeep (Yadav) averages under 20 and has 38 wickets. (Yuzvendra) Chahal is pretty similar, averaging 22 and their economy rate is fantastic. But can they win the World Cup for India in England?” he commented.
“It’s fantastic that you have a tour there to be able to judge what performance they give. You don’t always get surfaces that hold up and turn in England. I think that’s the challenge for India. They need to work out whether those two can be relied upon to go all the way through in a big tournament.”
Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav came back strongly after a rare blip in Johannesburg and shared six wickets between them in PE.
“When we went to the World Cup in England last time in 1999, we were expecting surfaces to be nipping around. But because it was a World Cup, it was almost like the surfaces were over prepared. India was good in the 2017 Champions Trophy but that was a different time of the year. And they played with same pitches over and over again, which meant that they started to hold up and grip,” Pollock quoted talking about India’s spin-twin.
“So that’s why I think India’s tour to England is important. The World Cup is only a year away and you will be able to gauge whether those two wrist spinners (together) will work or not.”
Jasprit Bumrah is a special talent in the former all-rounder’s eyes, who said “He has something different, doesn’t he? His action is different, he bowls wide from the crease, is skidder and rushes batsmen a little bit. So if you are different, you can always be effective and you can channel it that way. I think he learned as he went through the Test series about the lines that he could bowl. He learned what he could do and couldn’t do. He was exposed to some nice surfaces. I asked him wouldn’t you like it if the rest of your Test career was played on surfaces like this? And he said definitely.”
Bumrah looked very mature during his first Test assignment in South Africa, where he picked his maiden fifer at Johannesburg Test.
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“So it’s going to be more of a challenge when he gets to India. He is going to learn to reverse it, bowl on different surfaces and at different stages of the game. It’s a learning curve. But in the old days, you almost learned your trade before you got the opportunity. Nowadays kids, like Lungi Ngidi as well, they are all learning on the job. He has played only 9 First Class games before he got his Test cap and picked 6 wickets so he is learning on the go,” Pollock signed off.
The last ODI of this six-match series will be played Centurion and India will be eyeing to win the series by 5-1 to take the winning momentum in the T20I series, which will commence from this Sunday.