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Asia Cup 2022: 'Everything about Hardik Pandya is currently unreal,' claims Sanjay Manjrekar

New Delhi, Aug 30: Former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar has lavished praise upon India all-rounder Hardik Pandya for his heroics against Pakistan in the Asia Cup 2022 opener in Dubai.

The Baroda cricketer produced an all-round show and helped India register an emphatic five-wicket victory in a nail-biting encounter between the arch-rivals.

Pandya first shined with the ball and returned with figures of 3/25 and later blasted an unbeaten 17-ball 33 to propel the Men In Blue to a memorable win in the T20I match. The right-handed batter hit the winning maximum in the final over of the run chase and showed a lot of composure.

Speaking exclusively on SPORTS18's daily sports news show 'SPORTS OVER THE TOP', Manjrekar said, "Just his calmness. I mean everything about him is currently unreal. His bowling returns are unreal, which is fine, which is something that you get with others as well. But his ability to keep calm and get runs under pressure. That last over, you know last night was a tricky one because Hardik was in there and played the faster bowlers mostly and he was hitting the path.

Manjrekar also hailed Pandya for his batting exploits in the game and the way he handled fast bowlers and the nerve of steel he showed during the tense moments.

"There was a rhythm of hitting against the quicker bowlers and suddenly the situation was such that Pakistan had to bring in the left-arm spinner and Jadeja getting out to the first ball and then he had four balls to get those runs. I mean, the pressure is immense but the kind of shots also that he plays to get those winning runs under pressure is just outstanding. I'm sure from inside there is a bit of nerve, but he has this confidence currently which he said last night as well, is that he believes that the bowler would be under more pressure. So, he's just in a zone where you think everything that he is doing is just unreal. Absolutely brilliant," added Manjrekar.

The Mumbaikar further analysed the changes that Virat Kohli has made to his batting. "A couple of things that I saw which I liked and something that I have not seen him do much before. If you remember he played three pulls in that innings. There was one hook that went for six, but there were a couple of pull shots that he played and those are the things that I look for you know as an analyst. This is what excites me whether he's trying to do anything different. Just getting a little bit technical, before the ball was delivered.

"On two occasions, he actually had a trigger movement where he went back in the crease, which meant that I think finally somebody's got to him where he is now exploring the back foot play a little more. I saw that happen in England, but still mostly onto the front foot. There was a catch dropped again on the front foot reaching for the ball. So, if he starts mixing back foot aggression, I'm not saying back foot defence. Back foot aggression along with front foot aggression, life might just get better, and those signs were seen in that innings against Pakistan," he added further.

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Story first published: Tuesday, August 30, 2022, 15:40 [IST]
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