Hardik Pandya is a smart cricketer, opines Rahul Dravid

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However, ever since he toured Australia as part of the India "A" squad a year ago under the watchful eyes of coach Rahul Dravid, Pandya has emerged as a reliable all-rounder who could bail the team out with his strokeplay and consistent pace bowling from any situation. "That time I thought that (Adam) Zampa was bowling and I knew that I could hit a six off him any time I wanted to". Pandya plays the spinners well, he has struck three sixes in a row three times in ODIs.

At first, Australia opted to bat first after winning the toss and got a decent start when David Warner and Aaron Finch compiled a partnership of 70 runs.

The seven-letter word is inscribed on Hardik Pandya's left forearm. And to be honest, I used to hit sixes before too, it's just that I am hitting them at a higher level now.

Courtesy a solid foundation laid by the openers - Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma - India had cruised to 147 for 2 in 23.3 overs when Pandya walked out to bat. "That's why I waited till (Zampa's) seventh over and then I got the opportunity to change the momentum". "Rather than seeing it as a challenge, I saw it as an opportunity to do something nice for the team". "Play your game, however you play". It's about being positive and backing yourself and if I feel like it, I go for it. I tried it and it came out pretty well.

Comparisons do not seem to end when it comes to the new darling of India cricket, Pandya.

"It does not make any difference where I bat", Pandya asserted.

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With his consistent performances, Pandya is expected to carry the weight of expectations like other star players of the team.

Unfortunately, Pandya is already being pushed to bat up the order - the same error made with Irfan - and in the third ODI against Australia, chasing a big target, he should not have been promoted. "This is the first time I played so many balls, so it was great". It was India's head coach Ravi Shastri who backed Pandya to go in early in the runchase. "We knew if we took the game deep, then the boundary balls will also come, since the margin of runs wasn't much", he said.

But his aggression has cut short a few of his promising innings and Dravid, who has worked with Pant for over two years now, stressed on the importance of providing the players with a learning environment. It's a treat to watch them play and score runs.

Smith was gutted to have lost after being in a good position, and said: "We set it up beautifully, the first 37-38 overs".

The all-rounder, hence, has been a subject of comparison with India legend Kapil Dev, who is regarded the best all-rounder the nation has produced.

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