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Killing of Fast-Bowler Ego Led to Hardik’s Success

Killing of Fast-Bowler Ego Led to Hardik’s Success

In December 2015, a yet-to-debut in the international cricket Hardik Pandya version was interviewed about his playing style, to which he said, "The plus point what I have is that my bowling and batting (skills) are equal. Obviously, batting will be a more stronger point but I am quite a good enough bowler as well. I bowl quick too. I can be a proper fast bowler."

Cricket news: Pandya played a vital role in the series decider against England

That interview might be an exuberance of his youth and immaturity, but three years down the line, India can never think of going into the next year’s World Cup without him.

But since his debut in Australia one thing has become evident that bowler Hardik can be mysterious at times. He has surprise pace, variations, gumption to stare into the eyes of the opponent, but what he does not carry is the famous fast bowler’s ego.

After a short while in the series decider, it became clear that Kohli had failed to read the conditions appropriately and inclusion of an extra pacer was a huge mistake, and was proved during Hardik’s first over and innings’ sixth.

Jason Roy and Jos Buttler had scored at least a single boundary in the previous five overs and in the last over of the powerplay, they decided to step up their game.

Hardik was welcomed with two consecutive boundaries and then two consecutive sixes. Hardik hoped for a mishit and bowled shorter deliveries, but was punished enough as the over bore 22 runs.

Pandya later said in post-match interview, "See this T20 format, it's a funny game. You need to back yourself and come and bowl your best balls. I still remember after getting hit for 22, I was still normal. My elder brother Krunal asked me... 'It's okay, you're going to do it' and I told him 'yeah the game is like that."

India soon learnt that the scoring rate would drop if they pick up wickets, but it did not happen until Hardik returned for his second spell.

This time Kohli needs a pat because of his timing to reintroduce Hardik in the 12th over to face new batters, while in between Siddarth Kaul and Deepak Chahar got Buttler and Roy in 8th and 10th over respectively.

This is where the fast bowler ego vanished and Hardik caused damage. He later said, "My focus was just to make sure I bowled different balls rather than just bowling yorkers because length... I mean the shortest boundary was straight and if I miss my length, it will go [for a six].

"In shorter formats, when I bowl I think as a batsman. Generally when I bowl, apparently batsmen are going hard in this format. So I try to think as a batsman and I try to outplay them."

Hardik mixed his good length and short of good length deliveries and Eoin Morgan and Alex Hales could manage only two runs in that over. In between Yuzvendra Chahal managed enough pressure to lead England to a point of desperation.

In the next over Hardik started with fuller and wide outside of off-stump balls and Morgan perished attempting a cross-batted shot. Hales put one ball in the square leg stands but nicked a short-of-good-length ball to Dhoni.

Even after that, England seemed to go way past 200. But Hardik came back again and won the one-on-one tussle with Ben Stokes, who hit a short-of-good length delivery of Pandya straight down the throat of Kohli.

Jonny Bairstow read one bluff of Hardik, as he waited down the crease and hit it over cover. But his decision to stay deep costed his wicket, as he nicked a fuller and wider ball from Hardik to Dhoni.

Kaul and Yadav increased pressure from their part and led to the end of England’s innings to a sub-par total of 198.

Hardik described the game as, "Some days it works, some days it doesn't." Kohli and Co. would hope that these days come often and the all-rounder become consistent with his performance.

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TEST

RankTeam MatchesPoints Rating
1 India 35 4016 115
2 South Africa 33 3712 106
3 Australia 33 3499 106
4 England 45 4722 105
5 New Zealand 23 2354 102
6 Sri Lanka 38 3668 97
7 Pakistan 21 1853 88
8 West Indies 29 2235 77
9 Bangladesh 19 1268 67
10 Zimbabwe 8 12 2

ODI

RankTeam MatchesPoints Rating
1 England 51 6470 127
2 India 49 5973 122
3 New Zealand 41 4602 112
4 South Africa 39 4275 110
5 Pakistan 38 3915 103
6 Australia 37 3699 100
7 Bangladesh 28 2607 93
8 Sri Lanka 50 3872 77
9 West Indies 32 2217 69
10 Afghanistan 32 2053 64
11 Zimbabwe 37 2021 55

T20

RankTeam MatchesPoints Rating
1 Pakistan 30 3972 132
2 India 37 4601 124
2 Australia 21 2570 122
4 England 21 2448 117
5 New Zealand 22 2542 116
6 South Africa 19 2093 110
7 West Indies 21 2219 106
8 Afghanistan 27 2490 92
9 Sri Lanka 28 2451 88
10 Bangladesh 27 2066 77