Shaun Pollock rates England's Ben Stokes as the finest among the current crop. © AFP
India's search for the next Kapil Dev has been on for a few years now. Only recently, Hardik Pandya, a seam-bowling all-rounder, came to the fore and managed to make an impression. Now, Pandya has become a regular feature in the Indian Test side. South African great Shaun Pollock wants the 24-year-old to focus on one discipline of his game, be it batting or bowling if he wants to be a long-term prospect. However, Pollock rates England's Ben Stokes as the finest among the current crop. "T20 cricket has made a lot of people realise that they can have the ability to contribute with both bat and ball. As far as all-rounders around the world are concerned, it's difficult to pick one but I can think of Ben Stokes. He is one of the best," the former South Africa skipper told IANS.
"Coming to Indian cricket, Pandya is probably a long term all-round option. I think Virat Kohli really likes his style and attitude towards the game. Looks like he can get both wickets and runs; of course time will tell everything.
"Hardik needs to settle down and choose one of the disciplines (batting or bowling), something that keeps him in the side, and look to contribute on the other as it can be very difficult to contribute with both.
"If he settles down and gets a good run, there is no reason why he can't become a wonderful all-rounder for India," Pollock added.
Stokes joined an elite list of English cricketers as he took the wicket of Dinesh Karthik on the second day of Edgbaston Test to become only the fifth English player to score over 2500 runs and take 100 wickets in the longest format of cricket.
On the other hand, after a year of playing Test cricket, Hardik would not be too proud of his seven wickets in eight matches but he has made a significant impact with the bat by scoring 421 runs at an average of 35.08.
Pandya has always been used sparingly by skipper Virat Kohli and it has resulted in no real success with the ball for the Baroda player.
In the first Test of the ongoing five-match series against England, Pandya was utilised for just 10 overs and remained wicketless. Kohli didn't even give a single over to Pandya in the second innings.
In fact, he failed to pick up a wicket during India's practice game against Essex as well, proving that Pandya still has a lot of ground to make.
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