‘Our search for an all-rounder successful in the form of Hardik’

India’s chairman of selectors M. S. K. Prasad believes Hardik Pandya has potential to be compared to the legendary Kapil Dev.

Hardik Pandya celebrates his maiden Test century on Sunday.   -  AP

Hardik Pandya will be compared to the legendary Kapil Dev if he stays grounded and focused, according to chairman of selectors M. S. K. Prasad. Pandya, the young Baroda all-rounder, smashed his maiden Test century against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

“If he stays grounded I am sure we will see him being compared to the legendary Kapil Dev in the times to come,” Prasad told PTI.

Since Kapil’s retirement in 1994, India has not found an all-rounder of rare calibre. Irfan Pathan and Stuart Binny were candidates India invested in, but these players faded away from reckoning. When Prasad was asked if India’s search for a potent all-rounder was over, he said “yes.”

“I am very happy to say that our search for an all-rounder has been successful in the form of Hardik,” Prasad said.

‘Positive in attitude’

Prasad seemed all the more satisfied that Pandya has now established himself as an all-rounder in all formats after his hundred and fifty in the ongoing Test series. “He has already established himself in shorter formats (ODIs and T20) very well and this Test series has given him a good platform to establish himself in the longest format,” Prasad said.

“He has utilised the opportunity given to him and came out with flying colours. He is athletic, exuberant and very positive in his attitude,” Prasad said. “The best part about him is that his basics are strong in all three departments - batting, bowling and fielding. He looks so graceful in whatever he does in the three departments,” Prasad added.

Pandya has got support from the team management with skipper Virat Kohli indicating the 23-year-old was destined for bigger things. “I don’t see any reason why he can’t do for India what Ben Stokes has been doing for England,” Kohli had said after Pandya’s maiden Test half-century in Galle.