Team India has been grappling with the role of the finisher as well as a solid option in the middle order for a while now. They have tried different players in the role, but have not been able to find an apt replacement for former India captain MS Dhoni, who was perhaps the best India had ever had. However, owing to a concussion to Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul was forced to don the gloves and come down the order to bat at number 5. Both these experiments worked brilliantly for the hosts. Manish Pandey was given a go in the final two ODIs and while the right-hander did not get enough balls to stake claim as the finisher in the side. However, former Pakistan pacerbelieves that Pandey can finally plug the gap which has been left be MS Dhoni.
“India has finally got Dhoni’s replacement, they have found a good fit in Manish Pandey. Shreyas Iyer too looks a complete player and these add depth to India’s batting,” Akhtar further added.
“These players have played a lot in the IPL, they know how to handle pressure, they do not care about big names and hence, end up playing important innings,” Akhtar spoke about young players like Iyer and Pandey.
“I think it was a great series, characters were shown, players were willing to fight. Even when the innings ended, Iyer and Pandey were speaking about the batting while they were walking off the field. These players understand the game, they keep discussing the game,” the pacer said.
“In Chinnaswamy, India bullied Australia, hammered them. India toyed around with Australia as if they were kids. They thrashed and humiliated them. When Rohit Sharma is on song, he doesn’t care whether it is a good ball or a bad ball. He has so much of time, so much elegance when he plays his shots,” Shoaib Akhtar said.