Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar on Wednesday admitted that Hardik Pandya managed to provde him wrong through his nimpressive knocks during the ODI series against Australia. Manjrekar went on to opine that in Hardik, India havce found a pure No.6 batsman.
Owing to his continuous concern with his back issues, Hardik opted against bowling in the Australia series and was hence picked soloely as a batsman for the three matches. He did not want to cause any discomfort to his issue although he did mention that he is gearing up for bolwing in big ocassions like the World Cups. But Hardik as a batsman played a crucial role in India's batting lineup scoring an unbeaten 90 in the series opener in Sydney before bettering it with a match-winning 92 in the final tie. He finished with 210 runs in the series and was India's leading-run getter. He also bowled in the second ODI and also took the crucial wicket of Steve Smith while also laying the blueprint for the Aussies bowlers in outshining the Indian batters with cutters and slower deliveries.
Following his impressive batting, Manjrekar opioned that he his confident that Hardik will shine even if picked solely as a batsman in the ODIs.
"I was skeptical when they picked him on IPL performance. I thought he was a good T20 batsman but 50 overs is a slightly different game. Can Hardik Pandya be a pure 50 overs batsman and he proved to all of us that he can," Manjrekar told Sony Six after India's 13-run win in Canberra.
"He had that score in the first match but we have seen him get runs and not be consistent enough but we have seen in this game again today. So yes, India have found a pure No. 6. Who knows he might start going up the order.
"Whether he bowls or not, India have now found a very capable batsman who can be used as an option in No. 5 or No. 6.
"It wasn't a T20 innings, India lost early wickets and he got 30 from his first 30 balls. He has got the range and not too many bowlers can keep him quiet. That's really impressive. He has convinced me as I was skeptical about him as a No. 6 pure batsman. I think India have found one."
Hardik and Ravindra Jadeja stitched a match-winning partnership of 150 runs to revive India from 152 for five in 32 overs to help the team finish with 302 for five.