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Hardik's 5/28, one of India's finest bowling performances abroad

By Rajneesh Gupta
Last updated on: August 20, 2018 10:55 IST
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Hardik has just taken 10 Tests to record a rare feat -- scored a ton and taken 5 wickets.
Still not 25, Hardik has shown that he belongs to the place, says Rajneesh Gupta, giving us the numbers that matter.

IMAGE: Hardik Pandya holds up the ball as he leads his team out after taking a five-wicket haul at Trent Bridge, August 19, 2018. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Before the Nottingham Test, Hardik Pandya was being ridiculed for his allrounder tag.

Some experts criticised him for not being good enough with the bat, others raised questions about his utility as a bowler.

He is no Kapil Dev, they said.

Well, the man himself never claimed he is.

His performance on the second day of the third Test has sent his critics scurrying for cover.

Not that all of the criticism hurled towards Hardik was unjustified, but making a mockery of a cricketer's skills and calibre is simply not the ideal way to judge a player.

The second day of the Trent Bridge game was India's best day on this tour and Hardik played the stellar part.

His 6 over spell in which he took 5 wickets and ripped England apart will go down as one of the best bowling performances by an Indian bowler in an overseas Test.

Only 18 players out of a total of the 291 who have represented India in Tests have scored a ton besides taking a 5 wicket haul during the course of a Test career.

Only four of them have done so in fewer Tests than Hardik's 10 Tests.

Still not 25, Hardik has shown that he belongs to the place.

Whether he finds a place among the game's greats or not only time will tell. But surely there is no dearth of potential.

Hardik Pandya in international cricket

Tests 10 476 31.73 15 28.06
One-Day Internationals 41 670 29.13 40 40.35
Twenty20 Internationals 35 271 16.93 33 23.96

Note: The figures are updated till the second day of the Nottingham Test.

Photograph: BCCI

How Hardik's career has panned out and his achievements:

Was coached by Kiran More during his teenage days. He used to bowl leg-spin, but later turned to medium-pace on More's advice.

Made his debut for Baroda in a Twenty20 game in March 2013 at the age of 19. Later that year, he made his first-class debut for Baroda.

Was bought by the Mumbai Indians at base price of Rs 10 lakhs ahead of IPL 2015.

Scored 16* off 6 balls with two sixes at number 8 on IPL debut.
Later he scored a quickfire 21 off 8 balls and held three catches to help Mumbai Indians beat Chennai Super Kings by 6 wickets.
And in the must-win game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, he scored a quickfire 61 off 31 balls to win the game for his side.

Scored 34 runs in one over off Delhi medium-pacer Akash Sudan (5 sixes and 1 four) in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match in 2016.
Later, he slammed 8 sixes in his unbeaten 86 as he guided Baroda to a 6-wicket win over Vidarbha in the Super League stage.

Made his India debut against Australia at Adelaide on January 26, 2016. He bowled 5 wides in his first over conceding 19 runs in total -- the most expensive first over by a debutant in T20Is.

Bowled that famous last over against Bangladesh in the Super-10 game of the ICC World T20 2016.
Needed to defend 10 runs, Hardik conceded 9 runs off the first three balls, but then took wickets off the next two balls.
With Bangladesh needing 2 to win and one to tie off the last ball, Hardik kept the ball outside the batsman's reach. India won the game by 1 run as the two batsmen tried to steal a bye and the non-striker was run-out.

Made his ODI debut against New Zealand at Dharamsala on October 16, 2016, took 3 wickets and helped India win the match by 6 wickets. Won Man of the Match award on ODI debut.

Slammed 76 off 43 balls in the ICC Champions Trophy final in June 2017 against Pakistan in a losing cause. Hardik reached his 50 off just 32 balls, making it the fastest 50 in any ICC ODI competition.

Made his Test debut in July 2017 against Sri Lanka at Galle. Batting at number 8, Hardik scored 50 off 49 balls with 5 fours and 3 sixes.
Only one Indian has scored a faster fifty on Test debut than Hardik's 48-ball fifty.

Set a plethora of records with his knock of 108 in only his third Test at Pallekele in August 2017.
Unbeaten overnight on 1* Hardik added 107 runs to his tally before lunch on day two, thus becoming the first India player to score over 100 runs on any day of a Test.
His century came off just 86 balls making it the joint-fastest by an Indian at number 8 or below.
During his innings Hardik hit Malinda Pushpakumara for 26 runs in one over (4 4 6 6 6 0) -- the maximum an Indian batsman has scored off one over in Test cricket (beating Sandeep Patil and Kapil Dev's 24).
That over also made him only the third Indian batsman to hit three consecutive sixes after Kapil Dev (who in fact hit four consecutive sixes versus England) and MS Dhoni (versus the West Indies).
Hardik's 7 sixes in that innings set a new Indian record of most sixes by an Indian batsman in a Test innings outside India.
Interestingly, this was Hardik's first hundred in a competitive cricket match.

Completed the all-round double of 500 runs and 25 wickets in September 2017 during the ODI series against Australia.
By taking just 25 matches, Hardik became the quickest amongst Indians to reach this milestone, wresting the record from Kapil Dev who did so in 27 matches.

Smashed a sensational 93 off 95 balls against South Africa at Cape Town in January 2018 after India were reeling at 92/7.

Was retained by the Mumbai Indians for a whopping Rs 11 crores in the player auctions before IPL 2018.

Took 4/38 and then scored a quickfire 33* off 14 balls in June 2018 in the decider of a three-match T20 series against England.
In the process he became the first Indian to score 25 runs and take 4 wickets in a Twenty20 International.

Claimed a 5 wicket haul in just 29 balls against England at Nottingham in August 2018 -- the second fastest by an Indian in terms of balls bowled after first coming on to bowl.
Only Harbhajan Singh had taken 5 wickets in fewer balls -- 27 (vs the West Indies at Kingston in 2006).

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Rajneesh Gupta