Former South African all-rounder Lance Klusener has said that he can see Hardik Pandya develop into an ‘amazing all-rounder’ if he continues his progress in international cricket across all formats.
Pandya’s knock of 93 off just 95 balls and 2-27 in the second innings of the recently concluded Test match at Cape Town were among the positives for India, in what was otherwise a disappointing start to the series for the team. Klusener saw positives in Pandya, and told PTI, “I thought his knock in India’s first innings was fantastic. His batting was excellent in the way he reversed pressure and put it back on South Africa. He is going to be fantastic for India. He is still developing and I think if he could add another yard of pace to his bowling, he would become a truly amazing all-rounder.”
Pandya already has a century and two fifties to his name in what has been a short Test career so far, while also becoming a mainstay of the side in the ODI and T20 formats. Klusener added that while there will be times that Pandya will fail, his bold approach to the game has to be encouraged rather than curtailed. He said, “All the signs are there that he is developing into a fantastic all-round prospect. Sure, he is bound to fail a few times the way he plays, but it is better to encourage that positive approach than reel him in. So, he is in good company, whether he plays for Mumbai Indians in IPL or in this Indian team, he is surrounded by a lot of good people. It is their responsibility to nurture him.”
India failed to chase the target of 208 set to them by South Africa in the last innings of the match, on a bowler-friendly wicket. While the Indian batsmen failed to deliver in the Test, Klusener had nothing but praise for the Indian bowling attack. “When you compare them to South Africa’s pace attack, they do lack a bit of pace, bowling in the mid-130s,” he said. “But what I found remarkable was that they immediately hit the perfect length for South African conditions. It was similar to the lengths Philander was bowling. In the past, we have seen Indian pacers come here and get carried away with bounce and carry. This time they have obviously spoken about bowling fuller lengths and it was excellent to see them executing their plans very well.”
However, Klusener added that he did not see the Indian side coming away victorious in the Test series, saying that the team could manage to draw the series at best. India has won only two of 18 Tests that the they have played in South Africa. “I will be honest with you. I don’t see India winning this Test series. I don’t see them winning two Tests on the bounce. Maybe they can win and draw. Coming from 1-0 down, 1-1 will be a good result for them. But to do that, they need to work to a plan. South Africa are a good team with good pacers. India’s only chance is if they can get a big score on the board,” Klusener concluded.