T20 WC: Hardik Pandya (centre) and Krishnamachari Srikkanth (right) after India’s win over Pakistan.
If Virat Kohli shone bright with a steller 82* against Pakistan in India’s four-wicket win in their 2022 T20 World Cup opener on Sunday, Hardik Pandya was the perfect ally. His all-round performance was one of the main factors behind India pulling off a terrific win. He took 3/30 as India restricted Pakistan to 159/8 in 20 overs. Then he scored 40 off 37 balls and stitched a match-winning 113 run-stand in just 78 balls with Virat Kohli (82*). Pandya made history as he became the first Indian to cross 1000 T20I runs and take 50 wickets.
In a post-match interaction on Star Sports Tamil, 1983 World Cup winner Krishnamachari Srikkanth, while talking to Hardik Pandya, said: “I should not do comparisons. I do not compare eras. When I see you playing, the way you bowl, bat and field; it reminds me of Kapil Dev during our days. The impact you can create, is somewhat what Kapil used to create.”
To which, a smiling Pandya just said: “He is the greatest!”
Watch: Hardik Pandya’s Response on Kapil Dev
In the post match presentation, Pandya had turned emotional, recalling how his late father moved cities to fulfil a young boy’s cricketing dreams. “I was only thinking about my dad. I have not cried about my dad. I love my son, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do for him what my dad did for me. He moved cities for a six-and-a-half-year old boy’s dreams without knowing I’d get to where I am today. So, this is for him,” said Hardik on Star Sports.
“I will be grateful forever. If he hadn’t given me a chance, I won’t be standing here. He made a big sacrifice, he shifted to a different city for his kids. We were six at that time, and he shifted an entire city and his entire business. It was a big thing.”
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