With Dhoni's power-hitting prowess on a wane, Pandya remains a key accelerator for India down the order.
"As I always say, it's important to back yourself, and in cricket, confidence always matters and I'm confident that I can clear the ground (whenever I want)", he quipped after helping India script a five-wicket win with a 72-ball 78 at Holkar Stadium on Sunday (September 24).
Kohli has not backed down in his aggressiveness one bit against Australia in the ongoing five-match ODI series at home making his thoughts known to the departing batsman. It's pretty important that I read the game. It's about being positive and backing yourself and if I feel like it, I go for it.
"It's not just about hitting". On his way back to the bowling mark, Cummins sledged Pandya who had arrived at the non-striker's end after taking the single. India's successful opening pair of Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane was back in the pavilion after putting together a century stand. India still needed over 250 runs in 28 overs and Pandya rose to the occasion with a huge six off the fourth ball he faced.
Steven Smith finally managed to win a toss and without any hesitation chose to bat first on a good batting surface. "That's why I waited till the seventh over and then I got the opportunity to change the momentum and eventually one over changed the momentum in that game (In Chennai ODI)".
"It does not make any difference where I bat", Pandya pointed out. When I was told I was going to go out to bat next, I was happy. "I see these situations as opportunities".
Many legends and experts have already hailed Pandya as one of the greatest gifts the sport has received in a long time.
Kohli tweeted a video soon after the win, calling Pandya "the man of the moment" who had proved his credentials when he was promoted to bat at No. 4 on the night. "We actually knew we could get over the line", Pandya signed off.
"We are loving the ratings, but if we are a little more pragmatic then you will realise that the Indian team in the previous year or so haven't been stretched by the opposition". He felt we needed to attack the spinner. Then there's Shreyas Iyer, who had a brilliant time during India A's recent tour. I tried and it came out pretty well. "It's a treat to watch them play and the way they play", Pandya said. This concept of "play your natural game", which I hear all the time, frustrates me because there's no such thing in my belief as "natural game".
The all-rounder, hence, has been a subject of comparison with India legend Kapil Dev, who is regarded the best all-rounder the nation has produced.