Hardik Pandya is a smart cricketer, opines Rahul Dravid


A five-wicket win in the third game of the five-match series on Sunday gave India an unassailable 3-0 lead over Steve Smith's Australia. I'm not sure how many games Virat has played.

Lloyd went on to say "He seems to have a lot to say to the batsmen, I'm not sure I'm agreeing with all that".

Pandya has become the cynosure of all eyes with his six- hitting prowess, demonstrated to good effect in the ongoing five-ODI series against Australia.

After the match ended, Kohli interviewed Pandya in the dressing room. India's successful opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane was back in the pavilion after putting together a century stand. India still needed over 250 runs in 28 overs and Pandya rose to the occasion with a huge six off the fourth ball he faced. That time (in Chennai) I thought that Zampa was bowling and I knew that I could hit a six off him anytime I wanted to. In the first ODI in Chennai, he smashed Adam Zampa for three sixes and a four in an over to completely change the complexion of the game, while in Indore, he targeted Ashton Agar's left-arm spin to take the attack to the Australians.

With his consistent performances, Pandya is expected to carry the weight of expectations like other star players of the team. "That's why I waited till the seventh over and then I got the opportunity to change the momentum and grabbed it with both hands", the all-rounder pointed out.

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India's current victory run started on July 6 this year with an eight-wicket win over West Indies in the fifth and last match of that series at Sabina Park.

Kohli tweeted a video soon after the win, calling Pandya "the man of the moment" who had proved his credentials when he was promoted to bat at No. 4 on the night. "If he bats at six, he bats in a particular way", Dravid said. "I see these situations as opportunities".

It (batting at No. 4) does not make any difference where I bat.

Many legends and experts have already hailed Pandya as one of the greatest gifts the sport has received in a long time. Play your game, however you play. "Obviously the plan was to target the spinners and it came out pretty well". We needed 330 plus, Hardik was magnificent in the end there. "This concept of "play your natural game", which I hear all the time, frustrates me because there's no such thing in my belief as "natural game", Dravid added. Earlier, Pandya picked up well-set batsman David Warner and later played a wonderful knock of 78 runs while chasing 294. A 5-0 result is what it would be after, and given his all-round involvement in the team's affairs lately, Pandya could well have a big role to play in it.