All-rounder Hardik Pandya is a vital cog lending balance to the Indian squad, said visiting New Zealand cricket captain Kane Williamson said in Mumbai on Sunday.
"Certainly in the last year or two, he's been playing outstandingly well. We saw it in the IPL. And even in the series against us, he bowled very well. Now, we're seeing him come along with the bat and making contributions that any team would be pretty happy to have from their all-rounder," said Williamson ahead of the limited over series against the hosts.
The series comprises three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals.
"He's a very vital player for the Indian side in terms of a fast bowling all-rounder that, I suppose, in these conditions, it accommodates the spinners so much, but to have a fast bowling all-rounder that bowls good pace and hits it out of the park is always exciting to have," added Williamson.
Pandya has played an important role in recent times in the limited overs games for India and in the ODI series won 4 -1 by India, he scored 222 runs at just over 55 per innings with 83 as his highest score, besides taking six wickets with his brisk medium pace.
Incidentally, the 24-year-old Baroda cricketer had made his ODI debut against the Kiwis at Dharamsala when they visited India last year and his career graph has been on an upswing since then.
His performance against Australia has impressed former captain Ian Chappell so much that he wrote in his newspaper column on Sunday that Pandya "is potentially the fast-bowling all-rounder India have craved since Kapil Dev retired."
The Kiwis are scheduled to start the tour with two practice games at the Cricket Club of India here on October 17 and 19 before plunging into the ODI series with the first game commencing at the Wankhede Stadium on October 22.
They will play three T20Is after the conclusion of the ODI series, with the last one scheduled on November 7 at Thiruvananthapuram.