Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya is carried on a stretcher after getting injured during the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match between Pakistan and India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP)
Indian cricketer Hardik Pandya is carried on a stretcher after getting injured during the one day international (ODI) Asia Cup cricket match between Pakistan and India at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai on September 19, 2018. (Photo by Ishara S. KODIKARA / AFP)

New Delhi : A game-changer in his hey-days, South African all-rounder Lance Klusener foresees India’s Hardik Pandya closing in on someone like Ben Stokes if the team management can be “patient” with him for the next two years at least. “Among current all-rounders in world cricket, Ben Stokes is right up there.

Be patient, Hardik Pandya can be close to Stokes in two years: Lance Klusener

There are a few who have come and gone in recent times as well but certainly, a guy like Pandya, give him a year or two at this level, there is no reason why he can’t be one of the best all-rounders out there,” Klusener said here on Wednesday.

Klusener, who is in the city as senior Delhi team’s consultant coach for the Vijay Hazare Trophy, spoke at length about Pandya’s all-round abilities which have come under the scanner after his largely disappointing show in England.

“I think we must be careful while making comparisons. Everybody wants to compare Hardik to the great Kapil Dev. Hardik is his own cricketer. Of course, he has got some learning to do. I guess Hardik’s success will be based on how much he is able to learn,” Klusener said.

The 1999 World Cup player of the tournament said Pandya has a fine support system to hone him. “I think he is in great hands in that Indian set-up. I think people just need to be a bit more patient with him,” said Klusener.

Klusener  feels that it’s a seam bowling all-rounder, who makes the difference in a good team. “For me, the glue for any team is the seam bowling all-rounder because it gives you a lot more options. I think India have got the right man. It’s just that how he grows and develops himself. It’s easy to criticise but international cricket is tough out there,” he said.

Pandya was on Wednesday stretchered off the field during the Asia Cup match against Pakistan after sustaining an “acute lower back injury”. The incident took place in the 18th over of the Pakistan innings when the all-rounder was bowling his fifth over. He was unable to get up and was stretchered off and was taken for medical examination.

“Hardik Pandya has an acute lower back injury. He is able to stand at the moment and the medical team is assessing him now. Manish Pandey is on the field as his substitute,” BCCI’s media team updated.

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