Former South Africa all-rounder Lance Klusener has suggested India’s Hardik Pandya can be as good as – or better than – England’s Ben Stokes.
Pandya averages 31.29 with the bat and 31.05 with the ball after 11 Tests.
Stokes has more experience and stronger numbers with the bat, but inferior with the ball. His batting average is 33.89 – and bowling 33.25 – after 46 Tests.
‘Among current all-rounders in world cricket, Ben is right up there. There are a few who have come and gone in recent times as well but certainly, a guy like Pandya, give him a year or two at this level, there is no reason why he can’t be one of the best all-rounders out there,’ Klusener told PTI.
‘I think we must be careful while making comparisons. Hardik is his own cricketer. Of course, he has got some learning to do. I guess Hardik’s success will be based on how much he is able to learn.
‘I think he is in great hands in that Indian set-up. I think people just need to be a bit more patient with him. I hope he is allowed to grow and develop. For me, the glue for any team is the seam-bowling all-rounder because it gives you a lot more options.
‘I think India have got the right man. It’s just how he grows and develops himself. It’s easy to criticise, but international cricket is tough out there.
‘I think Hardik should be given space and be allowed to grow. He is going to be that glue for India for a long time.’
Klusener has been appointed to Delhi’s coaching staff for the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class competition.
He has also succeeded former New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori as head coach of the Rajshahi Kings in the Bangladesh Premier League.
The 47-year-old South African was fired as Zimbabwe’s coach earlier this year, after failing to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
The hard-hitting left-hander and steely right-arm seamer played 49 Tests and 171 ODIs between 1996 and 2004.
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