The third One-Day International between New Zealand and India was special for two reasons. First, former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s absence from the playing XI due to an injury after a long time and second, it was Hardik Pandya’s return match. And boy, he made his comeback in some style as he picked two wickets apart from a stunning catch to dismiss Kane Williamson.
Pandya last played for India during Asia Cup, when he injured his back while playing against Pakistan. Later on, his certain comments on talk show ‘Koffee with Karan’ brought him some trouble, which eventually turned into an indefinite suspension.
However, Sunil Gavaskar was most impressed by this performance of Pandya as he heaped praises for him while labeling this comeback terrific.
“Terrific performance, absolutely terrific performance. It’s never easy. The jet lag can get to you. He is a young man, he has had things that have happened and he just wants to forget it. The best way to forget it is being out on the field. And this is what he does best. Being on the field and playing for the country… that’s what you want,” said Gavaskar.
“He’s bowled a very good line, he has used the bouncers to very good effect. He has been like a live wire on the field.”
Indian all-rounder helped India earn the most vital wicket of Kane Williamson by grabbing an aerial catch. Kiwi skipper was looking solid until the brilliance of Pandya occurred. Gavaskar further praised this catch and called him an outstanding fielder.
“That’s the plus that Hardik Pandya brings to the team. He is such an outstanding fielder. He will get you some impossible catches, get you some terrific run-outs and then with the bat and the ball, he does well,” Gavaskar quoted while talking to Star Sports.
India registered yet another easy win to seal the series with two matches are yet to be played. New Zealand’s total of 243 didn’t look big enough after Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli’s half-centuries. Later on, Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik did the finishing job in Dhoni’s absence.