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‘I Don’t Think I’m Close to Him’: Hardik Pandya ‘Respectfully’ Turns Down Comparison with Legendary Kapil Dev

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Ever since Hardik Pandya became a prominent member of Team India, the experts have seen him as one of the suitable middle-order players. He is someone who can score runs and can get crucial wickets with the ball in hand. His all-round skills have often led to his comparison with legendary Kapil Dev. However, Pandya believes that he is nowhere close to the former Indian captain.

Pandya, who has been appointed as the vice-captain of Team India for the South Africa T20Is, said he would consider himself lucky if he could do just the 5 per cent of what Kapil had done during his playing career.

Speaking at the SG Podcast, the 27-year-old said it’s the experts’ job to make the comparison and he would like to focus on his game.

“I have very respectfully denied that (comparisons with Kapil Dev) because I don’t think I am close to him. What he did and the era in which he did it, I have always mentioned, that if I achieve even five per cent of what I have done… I have still not achieved that five per cent. So, for me, it’s people and pundits’ jobs to compare,” Hardik said on the SG Podcast.

After a great start to his career across formats, Hardik was pushed back by a back injury that didn’t allow him to bowl full throttle for almost three years. Earlier this year, he decided to take some time off from professional cricket and underwent a rehabilitation program at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) in Bengaluru.

He returned in a completely different avatar at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022. He batted brilliantly throughout the season and could bowl a complete 4-over quota in almost every game. And at last, he led his team Gujarat Titans to their maiden title win.

A fit-again Hardik Pandya is back in the Indian dressing room for the series against the Proteas and had trained well under the watchful eyes of head coach Rahul Dravid.

“For me, I am just a Hardik Pandya who is trying to get better. I can’t come close to Kapil Dev at the end of the day. He has been the greatest cricketer of all time. The kind of impact that he had on the game… from bowling to batting, and fielding, yeah, the comparisons end from my side. It is still up to people but respectfully I will deny that,” he added.

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