Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya picked up a maiden five-wicket haul on Sunday (Getty Images)

India allrounder Hardik Pandya on Sunday silenced his critics who had questioned his place in the Test team. With a maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket, Pandya was the wrecker-in-chief as England collapsed in dramatic fashion to fold for 161 inside one session on Day 2 of the third Test at Trent Bridge.

Michael Holding had raised doubts over his efficacy as an allrounder. India offspinner Harbhajan Singh was also harsh in his assessment, stating that Pandya needed to be disassociated with as an allrounder.

There was some firm ground for the criticism. Before the ongoing Trent Bridge Test, Pandya went wicketless in four matches and averaged 39 with the ball, 32 with the bat.

Combined with defeats in the opening two Tests against England in the ongoing five-match series, there was enough ammunition against the 24-year-old. Holding even made the comparison with legendary allrounder Kapil Dev, saying the youngster isn’t anywhere near India’s World Cup winning captain.

After his 5/28 in six overs on Sunday, it was Pandya’s turn to respond. “I have never wanted to be Kapil Dev,” he told reporters on Sunday. “Let me be Hardik Pandya, I am good at being Hardik Pandya, I played 41 ODIs and 10 Tests being Hardik Pandya, not Kapil Dev.”

He has asked to stop comparing him with others and dismissed any notion of being under pressure. “They (the players of Holding’s generation) have created their era, let me be Hardik Pandya, let’s stop comparing me with anyone. My team is happy with me. Nothing else matters,” he said.

The sharp response has come after Holding suggested India to find Pandya’s replacement following his failures. “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 (India) need to find someone who can contribute a lot more to this team right now,” he had said.