Development of Pandya as a cricketer has been a delight to watch.In many ways this guy has completed our side in almost all formats.Hitting ability aside ,the matirity and calmness he has shown in last 6 months exemplifies his development.
Much of Pandya's growth as a cricketer must be attributed to Dhoni at start and largely to Kohli for always backing him in every situation.There were times I thought him playing as a 3rd seamer is a slightly risky option but he has seldom disappointed with the ball in the hand.Going into the champions trophy final I thought he might be the weak link in the bowling but he turned out to be one of the best bowler on the finals day.Subsequently he has taken crucial wickets and now hardly can be treated as a weak link as I presumed he was in this side.Inclusion of variations like knuckle ball is a pleasant sight as well.
Batting has been a revelation.I remember I was not convinced that much after his 50 odd vs Eng at Eden Gardens in January this year , the innings was riddled with edgy shots.But 6-8 months after that,Pandya looks much more calmer, equally destructive against spinners or seamers but he does all that with a plan in mind.Never have I seen a batsman who finds hitting sixes against spinners as easy as this guy and even yesterday when Agar was bowling I knew chakka tou padega hi isko kabhi na kabhi and Pandya didnt disappoint.Now the growth part ,when he miscued one on a flighted loopy delivery, he knew he had committed a mistake and it was great to watch he didnt repeat it and on the contrary changed his modus operandi and hit Agar for a six using his feet.Maturity,calmness and game awareness everything was on display.
Now coming on to the nub of the point I am trying to make,looking at Pandya grow as a cricketer in this regime, a thought came in my mind that Rishabh Pant who I believe is an equally big talent,should be given a chance to become a polished cricketer like Pandya is on course to becoming.As I wrote earlier,Pandya has completed our side in many ways already but if Pant is a given a chance to become a player he has the potential to become ,our limited overs team can be the most dangerous side in the current circuit.We have one maverick in Pandya and there is still scope for one more in our side and Pant is ideal for that.
Now comes some people's apprehension that Pant can only play if Dhoni hangs up his keeping gloves.I dont believe that, Dhoni and Pant both can play,like Healy n Gilly circa 1997.The world cup is still 2 years away and I am desperately hoping Pant is in Kohl's scheme of thing for that tournament because such a talent has to be tapped.