Ganga rates Hardik highly

He represents modern, fearless Indian cricketer, says the former Windies captain

“Hardik, to me, represents the modern, fearless Indian cricketer,” the former West Indies captain, now in the country on commentating duties, told The Hindu. “He gives more options to skipper Virat Kohli in the team formation.”

Ganga is impressed by the new generation of Indian players like Hardik. “They are aggressive and are bold in body language,” he said.

High praise for Shaw

“Look at someone like Prithvi Shaw. It was incredible the way he commanded the stage in his very first Test.”

The former opener feels the 18-year-old Mumbai batsman is destined for greatness. “He looks very assured of himself, as he batted in ultra attacking style in his first game for India,” Ganga said. “His talent is backed by statistics.”

He likes a few other young Indian batsmen, a well. “Mayank Agarwal, Hanuma Viharai, Sanju Samson and Shreyas Iyer are all excellent,” he said.

“And it is great to see India producing so many fine pace bowlers.” He said Umesh Yadav’s 10-wicket haul in the Hyderabad Test was extraordinary.

“In the 20 years I have been playing and following cricket, I haven’t seen a performance by an Indian fast bowler like that,” he said.

“To see him bowl like that on a surface meant for spinners was amazing. Such surprises are the beauty of this sport.”

IPL’s contribution

Ganga believes the IPL has contributed tremendously to the growth of the Indian cricket team. “Contrary to what many people believe, I think T20 cricket impacts the longer formats positively; it is about how you embrace it,” he said. “It teaches you how to manage risks, adds versatility to your bowling and makes your fielding sharp.”

He added that the IPL was the greatest on-the-job training a young cricketer could hope for. “When a young Shaw sits in the dressing room with K.P. Piertersen and plays against Mitchell Johnson, A.B. de Villiers or Chris Gayle, nothing in international cricket will overawe you,” he said. “Full credit to the BCCI for coming up with the IPL.”

Main factors

As for the poor show of the West Indies team on this tour, he thinks two factors contributed to it mainly. “The individual failures of players like Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Kraigg Brathwaite and Shannon Gabriel let the team down,” he said.

“Nobody expected West Indies to do well in the Tests against this Indian side, which is far more experienced. The other reason is that there was no time for the team to acclimatise in India. Just one game — a two-day one — was never going to be enough.”

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