MONACO, Mar 2 (PTI): Former India captain Kapil Dev wants Hardik Pandya to “work harder on his batting” as that is his primary skill as an all-rounder. Pandya, after his 93 in the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town, failed to get a single half-century across formats in the remaining matches. Comparing any talented all-rounder to Kapil is a norm in Indian cricket and the World Cup winning captain wants Pandya to play without pressure. “He (Pandya) has shown the glimpse. He has the talent and the ability. Comparing with anyone put more pressure on him. I would like to see him go and express himself, enjoy himself,” Kapil told PTI in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the Laureus World Sports Award here. For Kapil, any all-rounder should be strong in one of the two skill sets and for him Pandya is primarily a batting all-rounder. “I would like to see him in the team for one reason, definitely either as a bowler or as batsman. He has to work little harder on his batting because he is a batsman all-rounder. If he can perform a little more with the bat, the bowling will come easy to him and that’s what happens to all-rounders,” said India’s greatest ever all-rounder. Kapil said that Pandya is still very young and everyone is expecting too much from him. “We have started expecting too much from him soon but I think he has the ability and is one of the finest athletes in the team. But he has to work harder to achieve success as an all-rounder,” the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian skipper said. Talking about next year’s World Cup, Kapil said that India will require both current skipper Virat Kohli’s aggression and his predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s calmness to lift the trophy once again. “If you can have the combination there is nothing wrong because you need to have somebody on the field who is calm and quiet and also understand the game and somebody who is very aggressive,” Kapil said about the deadly combination. “But if everybody is very aggressive, then it’s difficult. And again if everyone is calm, then also it is difficult. So if you can have a combination of both aggression and calmness, I think it will help the team.” Kapil said India played terrific cricket to bounce back in the limited overs series after a disappointing outing in the first two Tests in South Africa. “They (India) could have done better in the Test series but they ended really well. They won hands down in the shorter formats in South Africa, which we never did in the past. It was outstanding display. Had they played the first two Tests, a little better it could have been a different story altogether,” said Kapil. “Virat was brilliant but I think the wrist spinners have really done a great job. Just a year back (Ravindra) Jadeja and (Ravichandran) Ashwin, two top-class cricketers, were there but now they are not getting a chance and that shows the depth of Indian cricket at the moment. “It’s amazing how despite some top cricketers like Sachin, Rahul, Sehwag, Laxman retiring in the last 5-6 years, this Indian team has bounced back so quickly and that’s a good sign for Indian cricket,” Kapil added. Kapil believes the current side under Kohli has the ability to do well in England and Australia. “His character shows that he believes he can do it but for that he has to work very hard. As a captain, you have to take the team along with you and if he can do it, there is no reason why India cannot win in England and Australia. I have no doubt this team can do that but they have to work very hard,” he signed off.
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