Kohli hails 'star' all-rounder Pandya after series win
Indore: Captain Virat Kohli praised Hardik Pandya, describing the Baroda all-rounder as a "star" as he helped India defeat Australia by five wickets to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match One-Day International (ODI) cricket series here on Sunday.
Right-hander Pandya, promoted to No.4, cracked a match-winning 78 off 72 deliveries as India chased down Australia's total of 293/6 with 2.1 overs to spare.
"He's a star. He bowls, bats and fields as well. He is the guy we were looking for in a long time. He gives us great balance in the squad," Kohli said of the 23-year-old at the post-match presentation ceremony. "He is a great asset for Indian cricket. He never doubts himself. He has great self-belief and likes challenging himself," Kohli said.
Asked about the idea behind promoting the right-hander Pandya ahead of the likes of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Manish Pandey, Kohli said: "His promotion today was (head coach) Ravi (Shastri) Bhai's thought. He felt we needed to attack the spinner (Ashton Agar) to keep him out of the game."
Man-of-the-Match Pandya said: It feels good, but I couldn't finish the match. I saw the promotion as an opportunity than a surprise. I wanted to target the left-arm spinner.
"When I got the sixes, I knew that I can play a few dot balls as well. I try to contribute in every way I can. I want to get better, there's always scope for improvement."