Mumbai: Virat Kohli has been going gaga over Indian lower middle-order’s bench strength ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
He cannot stop gushing about the fact that Mahendra Singh Dhoni no longer feels the pressure of finishing off the games. All-rounder Hardik Pandya, who has become an integral part of Team India’s scheme of things, got a special mention from his skipper.
“Having Kedar Jadhav and Hardik Pandya do so well in that particular phase of the innings has strengthened our squad really well. And how they’re coming in provides that beautiful balance to us,” said Kohli at the press conference following the team’s arrival in London.
Pandya, who performed brilliantly for champions Mumbai Indians in the 10th edition of IPL, however, credited former India captain Rahul Dravid for his success.
The Gujarat cricketer is thankful for his stint with India A and lauds Dravid for showing immense trust in the youngster’s abilities. “When I got the call (into the national team), I was really excited and thought God wants me to do something nice. Let’s put everything in this tour, and it worked, and I made my comeback to the Indian team in two-and-a-half months when many said I wouldn’t come back even in 2 years.
I should thank Rahul Sir as well, he went out of his way and talked me up,” Pandya was quoted as saying by the Indian Express. “I still remember when I got out a couple of times in the ODIs, he used to ask me to come and sit next to him and tell me, “Hardik you are the one guy who has the talent to represent India, so you need to express yourself and take charge of situations,” revealed Pandya.
Hardik is part of the 15-member India squad which will defend the ICC Champions Trophy crown in England, starting June 1.