Former opener Aakash Chopra has picked the three players who are the biggest gains for Team India from the recently concluded limited-overs series against Australia. He shared his picks in a video shared on his Facebook page.
The reputed commentator pointed out that he is excluding the usual suspects like Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami.
“I have left out Kohli, Bumrah and Shami as everyone knows about them. I have picked three players whose performances I liked a lot and I am seeing an important role for them in the road ahead.”
Aakash Chopra named Hardik Pandya as the biggest gain for the Indian cricket team. He even suggested that the big-hitter is likely to take over the mantle of India’s most valuable player in limited-overs cricket.
“The first name is Hardik Pandya. He is phenomenal, he is sensational because the manner in which he has played, he is continuously moving forward. I have already said earlier that in the coming days, he will become India’s most valuable player in the white-ball formats. There is no doubt about that.”
Aakash Chopra added that the Baroda all-rounder will be even more priceless once he starts rolling his arm over.
“The day he starts bowling, I am telling you he is worth his weight in gold, which he already is. He bats with freedom and the maturity he has shown is laudable.”
T Natarajan got Aakash Chopra’s vote as the second gain for the Indian cricket team. The 29-year-old led the bowling attack in the T20I series, and captain Virat Kohli threw him the ball in crunch situations.
“The second player whom I liked a lot is Natarajan. He played just the four matches – the last ODI and the three T20Is and on all occasions, the captain gave him the bowling when he generally gives it to Bumrah.”
Aakash Chopra highlighted that the Tamil Nadu left-arm pacer delivered as per the captain’s expectations with even the Aussies playing him cautiously.
“He was just playing his first, second or third match but the captain was showing so much faith on him and he was delivering as per the faith and so much so that the Australian team was giving respect to him.”
Aakash Chopra’s final pick of an Indian player who stood out was Ravindra Jadeja, more for his performances with the bat than with the ball.
“The third player I liked was Ravindra Jadeja with the bat. I am not talking about the bowling because it was not that good. There is definitely a scope of improvement in his bowling as we expect wickets from him.”
Aakash Chopra signed off by pointing out that the Saurashtra all-rounder made a case for him to be sent in to bat at No. 6, thereby also giving India the much-needed sixth bowling option.
“But as a batsman, he is constantly reminding all of us that we need to change the team’s balance, that the sixth bowler we are looking for will be possible when he is played at No.6 and that he is capable of batting at that position.”
While Hardik Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja have grown in stature as batsmen during the limited-overs series against Australia, T Natarajan would definitely be one of the biggest gains for Team India.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer could be the answer to India’s search for Jasprit Bumrah’s partner to bowl at the death, especially with Bhuvneshwar Kumar being laid low with multiple injuries of late.
Natarajan, you were outstanding this series. To perform brilliantly in difficult conditions on your India debut speaks volumes of your talent and hardwork 👏 You deserve Man of the Series from my side bhai! Congratulations to #TeamIndia on the win 🇮🇳🏆 pic.twitter.com/gguk4WIlQD
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) December 8, 2020