There was a time when batting in cricket was about taking your time, getting the eye in, reaching to the pitch of the ball and playing it in the ‘V’. We saw legends like Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis following these rules throughout their careers, irrespective of the format. They went on to score thousands of runs for their respective sides but, modern day cricket doesn’t follow these rules anymore. Ruling this new age cricket are whizz-kids like Hardik Pandya and Glenn Maxwell who have the ability to clear the boundary rope from the very first ball.
In the first ODI at Chennai, the Indian top-order had surrendered against Nathan Coulter-Nile led Aussie pace attack with the scoreboard reading 87/5 at one stage. With no Ravindra Jadeja or Axar Patel in the lower-order reaching 200 looked like a humongous task. In walked Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder from Baroda who had shown his big hitting capabilities by blasting Imad Wasim for three back to back sixes in the ICC Champions Trophy.
10 years ago if a batsman had walked in at that stage, he would have taken his time, rotated the strike and would have tried to take the match into the final overs. But, these theories don’t apply to someone like Pandya. He kept smashing the Australian bowlers, scoring 83 runs from just 66 balls.
In response when the visitors came out to bat, they were in a similar situation losing four wickets for just 35 runs. Walked in Glenn Maxwell tearing apart the Indian bowling attack. He raced his way to 39 runs from just 18 balls including 3 fours and 4 sixes before getting out to Kuldeep Yadav. Even though India was on top, Maxwell’s little cameo made even the most loyal supporters nervous.
WATCH LIVE | India vs Australia 2017 2nd ODI
When the series started the focus was on big names like Virat Kohli, Steve Smith, MS Dhoni, David Warner and Rohit Sharma. But, from what we saw on Sunday, there is much more to this series than those big names.
What makes them more dangerous is the fact that both these players can contribute in all three disciplines of the game. Maxwell proved that with his Kangaroo leap on Sunday to get rid of Virat Kohli that he changed the course of the match with his fielding, while Pandya too shone with the ball, picking up two important wickets up front.
Maxwell has a strike-rate of 125 in the ODIs which is impressive even in the shortest format of the game. On the other hand, Pandya too has maintained a strike-rate of close to 130 in his short ODI career.
Having a Pandya or Maxwell on your team is like a two-edged sword. On one day, they can make a complete fool of themselves by playing a ridiculous stroke to get out and on the very next day, they can make some of the best bowlers in the world look like club rookies.
While the limelight stays on Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and their much-talked about rivalry, it is Hardik Pandya and Glenn Maxwell who might end up deciding the fate of this ODI series.