Former India captain Kapil Dev disagreed that all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s body is not suited for Test cricket, suggesting that the human body can come back from any condition. While some have raised concerns about Pandya’s ability to cope with the demands of Test cricket due to his history of back issues, Kapil Dev believes that any player can overcome physical challenges with proper dedication and hard work.
At one point in his career, Pandya was hailed as the next Kapil Dev, drawing comparisons to the legendary all-rounder. However, back problems have hampered his bowling, leading to a hiatus from Test cricket since September 2018. Former India head coach Ravi Shastri had previously remarked that Pandya’s body might not be able to handle the rigors of Test cricket.
In response to Shastri’s statement, Kapil Dev offered a different perspective in an interview with The Week magazine. He cited the example of Australian fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee, who experienced multiple injuries throughout his career but made remarkable comebacks each time. Kapil emphasized that the human body has incredible resilience and can bounce back from setbacks.
Kapil Dev said, “I respect his [Shastri’s] statement, but why? Nobody has had more breakdowns than Dennis Lillee. So I don’t believe that. The human body can return from any corner to top condition. If you say Hardik Pandya, who is such a great athlete and looks so good has to work hard on his body, he has to work hard. His body can’t take it?”
Kapil Dev also praised Pandya’s athleticism and talent, describing him as a great athlete who looks in good shape. He expressed confidence that with the right approach and hard work, Pandya’s body can withstand the demands of Test cricket. Kapil believes that players like Pandya, who possess immense talent, must work diligently on their fitness to excel in all game formats.
“I can understand if that big West Indian off-spinners [Rahkeem Cornwall] body can’t take it. But, over time, his body can also do it if he starts working towards it,” the 64-year-old added.
By comparing Pandya’s situation to Dennis Lillee’s, Kapil Dev offers hope and encouragement to young talents facing physical challenges, emphasizing that with dedication, they can achieve success at the highest level of the sport.