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IPL 2019: Hardik Pandya will do great things for Indian cricket, feels Kieron Pollard

New Delhi: Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya of Mumbai Indians walk back to the pavilion after end of their innings during an IPL 2017 match between Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi, on May 6, 2017. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

A smasher of the cricket ball himself, Kieron Pollard Wednesday praised his Mumbai Indians teammate Hardik Pandya for his six-hitting prowess and said the all-rounder packs a lot of punch.

“He is a small guy but hits (the ball) a long way. And again once he continues to practice well and continue to evolve as a cricketer, you can see him doing great things not only for Mumbai Indians but by extension Indian cricket,” said Pollard about Pandya on the eve of MI’s IPL game against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Pandya has so far amassed 355 runs in 12 games, studded with 27 sixes and 25 fours. Most of his runs have come towards the end, the last being the blistering 91 off 34 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens.

“He’s not really practicing differently. It is about believing in his ability. Obviously, the situations he has been in, he had no choice but to go and hit and he has shown his power-game as well, so it’s good for him. Even when he came onto the scene, if you remember, a couple of games for Mumbai (Indians), he finished off with his big hits.

“It is a matter of him having the confidence because he is one of those guys who is free-spirited and will just go out and try to use his youthful exuberance to have an impact on the game,” Pollard explained.

“I am sure even if there is something technical that he has worked on, he wouldn’t want to put that out in the media. That is something that if he is working on his game, he does it in private. He wants you guys to see the results of his hard work,” he added.

Conceding that the in-form SRH batting mainstay David Warner’s absence from the rival ranks will help MI, Pollard felt there will be someone else to fill the gap.

“It’s an advantage, obviously. David (Warner) is a world-class player. He has shown what he can do and he has shown that he was an integral part of Sunrisers Hyderabad (campaign). So, as an opponent, we feel good about it that he is not there, one less guy who was has been in form. But having said that I am sure they have in their armory a lot of world-class talent to back it up.

“There is (Martin) Guptill and he has done fantastically well on the international scene as well. Yes, they have lost Warner, but we are not going to take them lightly.

“We all know it’s a pressure game, the nature of the IPL on a whole is pressure, so as players you don’t want to put additional pressure on yourselves going into the last couple of games. You want to just be calm and collected,” Pollard said about how his team will approach the game in which a victory would pilot them into the playoffs.

“It is just like going into semi-finals and finals – you prepare mentally and physically and having plans and trying to execute them,” he declared, adding, “What is most important for us is the two points, not batting order and who gets most wickets or who is the star.”

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