New Delhi, Jan 9: Former India captain and legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev seemed impressed young Hardik Pandya's resolve against South Africa in the first innings of the opening Test against South Africa.
At a time when Indian batsmen were struggling to stay for long at the crease in front of a lethal Protea pace attack, Pandya showed great character and held his ground.
His 93-run knock off 95 balls and a gritty 99-run partnership along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, recovered India and prevented the visitors from facing the humiliation of getting restricted to a low total in their first innings.
Sharing his views about Pandya and whether the presence of an all-rounder all that important, Kapil was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, "Our time was different. These boys are at a level which we were never at. It is unfair to compare two players of different eras as it doesn't do justice to either of them. Not only all-rounders but even bowlers and batsmen right now are better. Even if you drop a player for a series that doesn't mean the end, it totally depends on the management and the selectors as to what they feel is right for the moment. As far as Hardik is concerned, he's doing a brilliant job."
Kapil, who was announced as the brand ambassador of Chandigarh-based start-up Pumpkart, told media persons in Chandigarh.
The former India captain, who also is the second leading wicket-taker for India in Tests, believes Pandya's emergence is a great sign for Indian cricket but the absence of an all-rounder hasn't been a drawback for any team.
"There wasn't something missing when India didn't have Pandya because I feel, having an all-rounder is a bonus but not having one isn't a drawback. The presence of all-rounders gives the captain an extra choice in both departments of batting and bowling but that also comes with the double pressure of taking wickets and scoring runs. When I started, I did play matches at number 11. I did improve my batting because a bowler has to bat eventually, but not all batsmen can bowl. I was fortunate enough that I excelled in both the departments," said the legendary cricketer.
Reflecting upon Team India's performance against South Africa so far Kapil said, "It is not that the team isn't playing well but that they can do better. It is the same with other teams. When they come to India, they can barely play on spinning tracks. It is also unfair to depend on two players for success as there are 11 who play and 5 who sit outside. If something goes wrong, everyone is responsible. If Virat Kohli got out, there is still no batsman with his numbers out there."