Kapil Dev, the 1983 World Cup-winning Indian captain, said he was impressed by Hardik Pandya's "commitment and promise" after the all-rounder hit a counter-attacking, valiant 93 in the first innings of Cape Town Test against South Africa.
India lost the match by 72 runs inside four days to go 1-0 down in the three-match series. However, Pandya's all-round show was among the major positives for the visitors.
Kapil also advised against putting pressure on Pandya by comparing the 24-year-old to the legendary all-rounder himself.
"He [Pandya] has done an exceptional job in the first innings for India with his knock. He shows promise and commitment. Despite being 24 and an amateur in Test innings, he did not succumb to pressure and took on the challenge," Kapil said at a promotional event in Chandigarh, Hindustan Times reported.
He added: "It is not fair to compare two cricketers. He has his own style and approach. Let's not put pressure on Pandya by making comparisons."
"He is doing a fine job with the ball and bat for the Indian team. We should let such talented cricketers perform and bloom as top-class cricketers. I think cricketers of modern era are much better than the previous ones. Youngsters are doing well for Indian cricket."
Pandya making the most of his chances
Pandya caught the attention of cricket fraternity when he established himself as a big-hitting all-rounder at his Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians. Ever since making his ODI and T20I debut in 2016, the man from Baroda has been playing some game-changing knocks under pressure.
His fearless approach and handy medium pace forced the team management to try him in the longer format of the game against Sri Lanka on the road last year. Pandya grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he smashed a ton only in his second Test at Pallekele in August 2017.
Kohli and the team management went in with Pandya for the Cape Town Test, keeping in mind the balance he offers to the side, especially on pace-rich tracks such as the Newlands.
Pandya did not disappoint as he battled pressure in his very first knock in South Africa. The quickfire 93 he hit in the first innings helped India, who were reeling at 92 for 7, out of trouble.
He also chipped in with two wickets in the second innings as they shot the hosts down for 130 before squandering a good opportunity to go 1-0 up in the series.