Legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar welcomed Hardik Pandya’s return to the Indian ODI team, saying his presence covers all bases for the side. Pandya, who is facing an inquiry for his loose talk during a TV show, did not get to bat in the third ODI against New Zealand on Monday but the 25-year-old bowled and fielded with purpose, taking two crucial wickets and a brilliant catch.

“He was very, very impressive. You know why this team management wants him in the side. He actually fills that little blank that was there. This allows the team to be balanced. He covers all the bases for the team,” Gavaskar told Star Sports.

“He’s bowled a very good line, he has used the bouncers to very good effect. He has been like a live wire on the field. That’s the plus that Hardik Pandya brings to the team. He is such an outstanding fielder. He will get you some impossible catches, get you some terrific run-outs and then with the bat and the ball, he does well,” he added.

Pandya was sent back home from Australia earlier this month after BCCI suspended him and KL Rahul pending an inquiry for making controversial comments on women.

It seemed that he would also miss the entire tour of New Zealand but the Committee of Administrators (CoA) revoked their interim suspension last week and now their fate will be decided by an Ombudsman who is yet to be appointed by the Supreme Court.

After winning the third ODI against New Zealand, India skipper Virat Kohli heaped words on praise on young Shubman Gill. Kohli said watching Shubman bat at the nets made him realise that he was not even 10 percent as talented when he was 19. “There are some outstanding talents coming in. You saw Prithvi Shaw grabbed his opportunities with both hands (opening Test in the West Indies). Shubman again is a very exciting talent,” Kohli said.

“I saw him bat in the nets and I was like wow I was not even ten percent of that when I was 19. That’s the confidence that they carry and it is great for Indian cricket if the standard keeps going up and the guys coming in can make impact performances straight away and we would be more than happy to give them the chances and help then grow.”

(With PTI Inputs)