India all-rounder Hardik Pandya had a sensational white-ball tour against Australia. Playing in his first international tour this year, the 27-year-old finished as India's top run-getter in the ODI series with 210 runs, including knocks of 90 and 92 in the first and third game respectively.
Hardik continued his purple patch by gathering 78 runs from three T20Is which consisted of a match-winning 44-run knock in the second match. Sealing the three-match series for India, Hardik slammed two sixes off the last over bowled by Daniel Sams when the visitors needed 14 runs to win.
He, however, couldn't finish the job in the third T20I when India needed 43 to win off the last three overs. Nevertheless, the Surat-born was awarded Man of the Series for his impressive batting show in the shorter format. Hardik's whirlwind knocks against Australia gained many accolades and many fans even backed him to don the finisher's role for the team.
Since the departure of MS Dhoni from the biggest stage, the Indian batting unit has been searching for someone to deliver in death overs. While many believe that Hardik is ready to step into Dhoni's shoes, cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra feels the all-rounder needs someone to support him in death overs. While representing Mumbai Indians (MI) in the IPL, Hardik has Kieron Pollard to complement him at the end.
“If you look at India’s golden period in white-ball cricket, MS Dhoni had Yuvraj Singh with him. There is no better finisher in the world better than Dhoni, but he too needed someone. You cannot be a finisher all by yourself,” Chopra told Cricbuzz.
“If you have just one – Hardik Pandya as the finisher, then roles and responsibilities change a lot.” According to Chopra, India skipper Virat Kohli should anchor the innings and find players who can perform other roles around him.
“As far as Virat Kohli is concerned, if you have five-six batsmen in the team, each one has a different role. Playing anchor suits Kohli the best and I don’t think anyone else in world cricket plays that role better than him.
“Take any format for example – ODIs and T20Is. It’s just that he needs to find players around him who can perform other roles. He has never scored at 170, never has never will. So don’t consider him Usain Bolt, who will run away with big shots," Chopra further said.