Pandya slams Holding's 'nowhere near Kapil Dev' jibe after routing England

Pace-bowling all-rounder Pandya, playing in just his 10th Test, routed England with his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket.

Indian cricketers applaud teammate India's Hardik Pandya, holding ball, for taking five wickets, as they leave the field at the end of an innings during the second day of the third cricket test match between England and India at Trent Bridge.   -  AP

India's Hardik Pandya routed England with his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket and then urged pundits such as Michael Holding to assess him on his own merits after the West Indies great said he was “nowhere near” becoming the “next Kapil Dev”.

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Pace-bowling all-rounder Pandya, playing in just his 10th Test, made the most of the swing-friendly conditions on offer to take five for 28 as England collapsed to 161 all out at Trent Bridge on Sunday.

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India then pressed home its advantage to be 124 for two at stumps in its second innings, a commanding lead of 292 runs on just the second day of the third Test.

“I have never wanted to be Kapil Dev,” Pandya told reporters.

“Let me be Hardik Pandya, I am good at being Hardik Pandya, I played 41 ODIS and 10 Tests being Hardik Pandya, not Kapil Dev.”

Prior to this match, the 24-year-old Pandya was averaging 32 with the bat and 39 with the ball in Test cricket.

That led West Indies fast-bowling great Holding to suggest India needed to “find someone who can contribute a lot more to this team right now.”

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Before the second Test at Lord's last week, which India lost by a huge margin of an innings and 159 runs to fall 2-0 behind in this five-match series, Pandya had gone four Tests without a wicket.

“I don't think he does a lot with the ball,” Holding had said. “He is not consistent.”

Holding, now a respected television commentator who is covering the England-India series for Sky Sports, insisted “I heard a mention, when I was working in South Africa: 'he is the next Kapil Dev'. I ain't going to tell anybody he's not going to be the next Kapil Dev, but he is nowhere near there yet.

“And they (India) need to find someone who can contribute a lot more to this team right now.”

'Let me be Hardik Pandya'

But having made his mark at Trent Bridge, significantly as a fourth seamer in a rebalanced attack following the return of fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah from injury, Pandya said he had no interest in being compared to great players of the past.

“They (the players of Holding's generation) have created their era, let me be Hardik Pandya, let's stop comparing me with anyone,” he said.

“My team is happy with me. Nothing else matters.”

England was bowled out in a session on Sunday despite an opening stand of 54.