Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya made a rocking return to the Indian side. He was named in India’s XI for the third ODI against New Zealand in place of Vijay Shankar. And the lanky player impressed one and all with his excellent fielding and bowling. He took a brilliant catch to get rid of the Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson in last ODI.

On the bowling front, Pandya ended up with figures of 2/45 in his quota of 10 overs. The Baroda lad had a very disciplined start and gave away just 9 runs in his first five overs and in his last five overs scalped two wickets though he was slightly on the expensive side.

India’s fielding coach R Sridhar explained to the media what was going through Pandya’s mind before the third ODI. Sridhar was quoted by cricbuzz as saying, “No one was more keen than Hardik Pandya to play that game. He’s been working very hard during the time he got back home and the kind of energy he brought into the team, the desperation he brought was magnificent to see. He’s always been a good fielder. He was just dying to get into the thick of things and be a part of this and get back to what he loves doing, that is to play cricket and play it best he can.”

“That catch – he made a very difficult catch look easy. By no means an easy catch and then also the fact that it was Kane Williamson’s catch; the extra pressure of one of the best batsmen in the world. I think that was a turning point. I would say piece of magic from Hardik Pandya. He’s known for that. He’s one of the best fielders as we have in the country. If you also notice, he hit the stumps on quite a few occasions in his comeback match, which was very pleasing to see,” he added.

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