Hardik Pandya represents the modern, fearless Indian cricketer, says Darren Ganga

The former Windies captain, in India for commentary duties, is impressed by the new generation of Indian cricketers.

Darren Ganga... “Full credit to the BCCI for coming up with the IPL.”   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

Former Windies captain Darren Ganga is impressed by the new generation of Indian cricketers. According to him, “they are aggressive and bold in body language.”

“Hardik [Pandya], to me, represents the modern, fearless Indian cricketer. He gives more options to skipper Virat Kohli in the team formation,” Ganga, in India for commentary duties, told Sportstar. “Look at someone like Prithvi Shaw. It was incredible the way he commanded the stage in his very first Test,” he added.

The former opener feels Shaw, the 18-year-old Mumbai batsman, is destined for greatness. “He looks very assured of himself, as he batted in ultra-attacking style in his first game for India,” Ganga said. “His talent is backed by statistics.”

‘Amazing’ Umesh

He likes a few other young Indian batsmen as well. “Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Vihari, Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer are all excellent,” he said. “And it is great to see India producing so many fine pace bowlers.”

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Fast bowler Umesh Yadav’s 10-wicket haul in the Hyderabad Test was extraordinary, he noted. “In the 20 years I have been playing and following cricket, I haven’t seen a performance by an Indian fast bowler like that,” he said. “To see him bowl like that on a surface meant for spinners was amazing. Such surprises are the beauty of this sport.”

Rubbing shoulders with the best

Ganga believes the Indian Premier League (IPL) has contributed tremendously to the growth of the Indian cricket team. “Contrary to what many people believe, I think T20 cricket impacts the longer formats positively; it is about how you embrace it,” he said. “It teaches you how to manage risks, adds versatility to your bowling and makes your fielding sharp.”

He added that the IPL was the greatest on-the-job training a young cricketer could hope to get. “When a young Shaw sits in the dressing room with [Kevin Pietersen] and plays against Mitchell Johnson, A. B. de Villiers or Chris Gayle, nothing in international cricket will overawe you,” he said. “Full credit to the BCCI for coming up with the IPL.”

Ganga reserved more sober assessment for his own team — the Windies. He said, “The individual failures of players like Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Kraigg Brathwaite and Shannon Gabriel let the team down. Nobody expected Windies to do well in the Tests against this Indian side, which is far more experienced. The other reason is that there was no time for the team to acclimatise in India. Just one game — a two-day one — was never going to be enough.”