Harbhajan believes that the kind of consistency Pandya has shown with the bat for India Down Under has been absolutely fantastic. After having scored a valiant 90 in the first ODI at Sydney, Pandya scored a match-winning 92 in the third ODI at Canberra to make sure India avoided a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI series.
The 27-year-old also scored a quickfire 42 in the second T20I to help India take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match T20I series. India were unable to complete a 3-0 whitewash over the Aussies, as the hosts beat them by 12 runs in the dead rubber at Sydney.
Bhajji feels that the asking rate was a bit too much for both Pandya and Kohli to match in the final T20I. Although the duo tried their best, India were unable to chase down the target of 187 runs.
“The way Hardik Pandya has batted in the ODI series as well as the T20I series, India still had hopes till he was at the crease. Even Virat Kohli himself believed that till the time Pandya is at the crease, he can play the big shots. A lot has changed in these 15 days, now that Virat Kohli himself depended more on Hardik Pandya to get the job done,” Harbhajan Singh told Sports Tak.
“Both are quality players and had they stayed till the end, India might have won the game. But to keep on batting till the end in that manner, a lot of risks needed to be taken and sometimes they come off and sometimes they don’t,” he further added.
Virat Kohli’s form was a big cause of concern for the Indian team going into the tour of Australia. But he played well in the ODI series, and made scores of 89 and 63 in the second and third ODI respectively.
Kohli also continued his form in the shortest format of the game. The 32-year-old scored an important 40 off just 24 balls in the second T20I and set up things nicely for Pandya’s late flourish. In the third T20I, he scored 85 runs off 61 balls and kept India’s hopes alive till he was present at the crease.
Harbhajan Singh believes that the runs flowing from Virat Kohli’s bat are good signs for the Men in Blue. He is of the opinion that the Indian skipper’s form will be absolutely crucial for the team’s chances in the first Test at Adelaide.
“Credit to team India, the way they have come back from being behind in the ODI series to winning the T20I series. This is a confidence-booster because the Test series is still to be played and Virat Kohli coming back to form is a very big relief for the Indian team,” Harbhajan Singh asserted.
The next assignment for both India and Australia is the all-important Border-Gavaskar Trophy, which begins on December 17. Virat Kohli will be heading back to India after the first Test to attend the birth of his first child. He will be keen to make an impact and help his side take a 1-0 lead in the Test series.