Kohli backs 'match-winner' Pandya
Hardik Pandya is a "priceless" player who can provide "a match-winning performance in any game he plays," according to Virat Kohli.
Kohli, the India captain, said he "would not think" of omitting Pandya from his team for the ICC Champions Trophy final and insisted he was the man to balance the side.
While Pandya has enjoyed relatively little opportunity with the bat in the tournament to date - he has twice come in towards the end of the innings and, after making 9 in 5 balls against Sri Lanka, thrashed an unbeaten 20 in 6 balls against Pakistan - he has bowled in all four matches claiming three wickets (at a cost of 60 apiece) and conceding 6.20 runs per over.
That makes him the most expensive bowler in the India squad over the four matches and has prompted questions over whether they might recall specialist seamers such as Umesh Yadav or Mohammed Shami for the final in his place.
But Kohli was adamant that he valued the all-round balance Pandya offers and suggested that, if India continued to invest in him, they would be rewarded with "a match-winning performance" in a "crisis."
"I would back a guy like Hardik who provides you so much balance in conditions that he can be effective as a bowler and his batting is priceless," Kohli said. "If you're chasing a total and you need eight an over and you've lost wickets, he's a guy who can still win you the game. He can give you a match-winning performance in any game that he plays. As a fielder, as well. It's very hard to find a package like that.
"That's the kind of belief he has in his ability and we have that belief in him. You need to back guys like him on a regular basis and you will get those results where the team is in crisis and he stands up and gives a match-winning performance.
"So far he's been really good in the tournament. When he bowls well, it's a total relief for me as a captain because he can get you seven good overs. He can get you a couple of wickets, as well, and then with the bat and the field we know what he can do.
"So I would not think of changing anything at this particular stage."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo