Mohammad Kaif praised Hardik Pandya for playing a responsible innings when India was in a critical position in the Asia Cup 2023 Group A clash against Pakistan. Hardik Pandya scored 87 runs in 90 balls as India set a target of 267 against Babar Azam & Co. at Pallekele on Saturday, 2 September. However, rain intervened after that and the match was abandoned without a single ball being bowled in the second innings.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Kaif was asked about his views on Pandya’s innings, to which he replied:
“This change has come since Hardik Pandya became the Gujarat Titans’ captain. He has learned to take responsibility. He has played at No. 3 and No. 4 as well and the biggest thing is that Hardik has learned how to mold himself according to the situation.”
The former Indian batsman added:
“When he comes at No. 5 or No. 6, he plays the big shots. When he comes at No. 3 or No. 4, he knows he has to build a partnership, play steadily, and take his time. He showed that by doing it today (Saturday) because the situation was extremely grim when Hardik Pandya came to bat.”
When India was reduced to 66/4 in the 15th over, Pandya joined Ishan Kishan in the middle order. The duo put on 138 runs for the fifth wicket before another collapse prevented the Men in Blue from scoring big.
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He Played Patiently And Hit Proper Cricket Shots” – Mohammad Kaif On Hardik Pandya
Mohammad Kaif praised Hardik Pandya for not resorting to unconventional strokes. He elaborated:
“India were under a lot of pressure. He played patiently and hit proper cricketing shots. He hit a six later but he took very few risks at the start. The sweep he played to short fine-leg, he plays that rarely. Mohammad Nawaz brings the ball in, so he played it there.”
The cricketer-turned-commentator revealed that the all-rounder has all the shots in his armory. he explained:
“He hit three fours in Haris Rauf’s over. He knows how to play spin, plays the pull, drive, and he showed the cut shot also today. The ball went rapidly to the fence, the fielder couldn’t even move. So he has learned to play every shot. He even played the scoop in this match.”
Kaif concluded by saying that Hardik Pandya is a complete package. He said the Gujarat Titans captain is comfortable against both spin and pace and has developed into an excellent batsman.