Since Kapil Dev’s retirement, India has been struggling to find someone who can fill his boots. When Irfan Pathan showed some promise as a batsman after proving his bowling credentials, the country felt that we were on to something special. However, within a short span, his pace dropped and he never could become the bowler he once used to be.
A few years later, Hardik Pandya’s appearance led to the resurgence of the Dev narrative. However, to live up to the expectations of simulating a legend like Dev was always going to be a slippery slope for young Pandya.
In the ongoing six-match ODI series between Indian and South Africa, the performance of the Gujarat all-rounder has been below par. A trend is gradually developing wherein Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah bowl tight line and lengths in the first power-play. They not only keep the batsmen quiet but pick up one or two wickets as well. But the moment Pandya comes in to bowl, the pressure is released and runs start flowing easily.
This article suggests three such fast bowling all-rounders who can replace Pandya in the Indian ODI squad in the future.
When you think of the Indian U-19 star Kamlesh Nagarkoti, you think of a bowler who can clock 145 kmph on a consistent basis. You think about his hat-trick in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. But what you miss is his utility with the bat.
If you look at Nagarkoti’s List A career, he has a batting average close to 40, which is way ahead of Pandya’s average of 30.29. In the recently concluded U-19 World Cup, the 18-year-old picked up 9 wickets in 6 matches with a bowling average of 16.33 and an economy of 3.48. At the same time, we must also remember that he is no bunny with the bat. If he works hard on his batting, he can give Pandya a run for his money in the long run.
Ashish Reddy made his first-class debut for Hyderabad in 2012. He turned out to be an instant success as he picked up 29 wickets in the season, to become Hyderabad’s leading wicket-taker. Owing to this and a few useful contributions with the bat, the 26-year old was picked by Deccan Chargers in 2012. Later, he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
He is known for his whirlwind knock of 36 in just 16 balls against Chennai Super Kings in 2013. He also has a hat-trick in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy against Goa and can be a lethal replacement for Pandya.
Vijay Shankar hogged the limelight recently when he was named as Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s replacement ahead of the 2nd Test between Indian and Sri Lanka due to Bhuvi’s marriage. With a staggering first-class batting average of almost 50, Shankar is a solid middle order batsman. The only concern though is that Shankar, for the lack of a better word, bowls at a very comfortable pace.
However, of late he has vastly improved his bowling with the help of Tamil Nadu’s bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji. “I have improved on my bowling speed. Balaji helped me understand how to make the most of my non-bowling arm and helped me in my run-up. It has helped me immensely,” says the rejuvenated all-rounder.