Cricket is a funny game.
After being criticised for performing below par, all-rounder Hardik Pandya got the Internet love as he produced a fiery spell of 5/28, restricting the hosts to a mere 161 in the first innings of the third Test in Trent Bridge.
With 2-0 down in the series, Pandya put Indians in the driver's position on Sunday, as the visitors ended the second day with a massive lead of 292 runs.
At the end of day's play, Pandya hit back at critics saying it's their job to criticise. He also maintained that if the team is happy with his performance, nothing else matters.
This was perhaps aimed at the legendary fast bowler and commentator Michael Holding who was critical of Pandya days before the third test. Holding insisted Pandya had a long way to go to come close to the great Kapil Dev.
“It seems as if he’s the golden boy in this team. Everyone thinks he’s going to be the next Kapil Dev. He hasn’t shown that yet. Why not pick a batsman? Pandya got a few runs in the second innings but is he a better batsman than Pujara? I don’t think so, and you don’t need him as a bowler in my eyes,” Holding said.
Speaking to ESPN, Holding had questioned Pandya's selection in the Tests.
"I heard a mention when I was working in South Africa - 'he is the next Kapil Dev'. I ain't going to tell anybody he's not going to be the next Kapil Dev, but he is nowhere near there yet. And they need to find someone who can contribute a lot more to this team right now," Holding said.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) August 16, 2018
But after Pandya demolished the English side, Twitterati were quick to hit back at Holding.
Michael Holding: "Hardik Pandya is not an all-rounder."
Pandya gets fired up and takes 5 wickets.
Someone please tell Michael Holding to say: "Hardik Pandya can't score a triple century in the 2nd innings."#ENGvIND
— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) August 19, 2018
If Pandya takes more wickets and scores runs, the only mic drop we will see is from Michael Holding. #EngvInd
— Silly Point (@FarziCricketer) August 19, 2018
— RS (@AwaraRish) August 19, 2018
As if some kind of divine punishment, Michael Holding is being made to sit through and shower praises at this breathtaking spell of bowling by Hardik Pandya, the guy Holding dismissed as an IPL show pony.
— Gabbbar (@GabbbarSingh) August 19, 2018
Just like Pollard answered to Sanjay Manjrekar, I want Hardik Pandya to hit back at Michael Holding. #ENGvIND
— Sameer Allana (@HitmanCricket) August 19, 2018
Michael Holding: “Kohli needs to score runs in England to be considered as a great batsman”
*Kohli scores 2 centuries in next 3 tests.
MH: Pandya is not ready for Tests.
*Pandya takes fifer in next innings.#EngvInd
— AJ ㅤ (@DarrKeAage) August 19, 2018
— Sir Ravindra Jadeja (@SirJadejaaaa) August 19, 2018
Hardik Pandya gave a simple answer to everyone who's questioning on his selection!! Michael holding said after previous match that "Pandya is not capable of playing test cricket" but Hardik accepted the challenge and proved his place #INDvENG #KyaHogaIssBaar @hardikpandya7 @BCCI
— Akshat Renu (@known_as_aks) August 20, 2018
And, now, people are hoping that Holding criticises Indian batting lineup.
— Be Yusuf (@barmare_yusuf) August 19, 2018
Pandya earned praise for his maiden five-for at the Trent Bridge.
10 wickets in the session. Fantastic from India. Hardik Pandya was the standout with that magnificent spell. Firmly in India ‘s control as of now.
— Mohammad Kaif (@MohammadKaif) August 19, 2018
Hardik Pandya is first fast bowler from India to take a 5-wicket haul in Tests after coming to bowl as third change or later. #EngvInd
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) August 19, 2018
You can watch Pandya's spell here:
In his 131 Test match career, Kapil Dev has yielded 434 wickets at an average of 29.64.