Team India may have lost the first T20I against Australia in Mohali by four wickets but the star of the show for Rohit Sharma’s side was undoubtedly once again all-rounder Hardik Pandya. The Gujarat Titans captain smashed a brilliant 71 off 30 balls including three successive sixes off the final three balls of the Indian innings to propel his side to 208 after batting first.
Former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar believes Pandya is batting like he is on a ‘different planet’ altogether. “You know we thought in the Asia cup, that maybe he’s lost his mojo a little bit and whether if he’s quickly going to come in form but that was sort of bump in the kind of batting form that we’ve seen with Hardik Pandya. When we talk about form it’s not about 40s, 50s or 60s. The kind of shots and the impact he’s making with the bat and again we’re back to the Hardik Pandya who’s playing on a different planet currently,” Manjrekar said on SPORTS18’s daily sports news show ‘Sports over the top’.
“Class batting against some quality bowling. I think that is very important to note as well. And because India batted first, it wasn’t as easy as it was in the second half of the match. So, hats off to Hardik,” he added.
Manjrekar felt that Team India leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal looked a little tired in the first T20I at Mohali. Chahal leaked 42 runs from just 3.2 overs in his spell.
“Too many matches. He’s somebody that comes good if you see him, how he made a comeback after being dropped for a while. Come Australia, when he’s had a little bit of break, he’ll be fine. But I’ve always wanted the X-factor in the spin department and that’s the only thing that concerns me about the squad that has been announced for Australia. Axar (Patel), (Ravichandran) Ashwin and Chahal. The three spinners. I don’t see drama happening in the middle overs which you need to win T20 games,” Manjrekar felt.
Apart from Chahal, all-rounder Harshal Patel also struggled while coming back from injury. Harshal was very expensive, leaking 49 runs in four overs.
“Harshal is someone we’ve seen for a number of years. We’ve seen him in the IPL as well. He’s a guy who rebels when the pitch is dry when his slower ball becomes really slow and becomes very difficult to play. Last time his slower balls were going at around 120kmph. So, it’s not a huge drop in pace. So, Harshal is a worry if the pitch is flat, bouncy and pacy. That’s what you’ll get in Australia. So that’s another thing that India will be mindful of, the skills of Harshal in Australia,” Manjrekar said about Harshal Patel.