Former Indian head coach Ravi Shastri said that India missed the bowling of the all-rounder Hardik Pandya during the 2021 T20 World Cup in UAE last year. He has participated in the 2021 ICC competition as a batter rather than an all-rounder. He is one of the best players on the team now and no one comes close to him in terms of quality.
Hardik Pandya has been selected for the Indian team to compete in the upcoming Asia Cup, which starts on August 28. If Pandya is not properly used in the tournament, the balance will surely go away. Shastri called Pandya the most important asset of India in Asia Cup.
“He (Pandya) is one of the most important cogs in the wheel as far as India is concerned. You take him out of the squad and the balance goes away. That’s how important he is. You don’t know whether to play an extra batsman or an extra bowler”, Shastri said in a press conference organized by Star Sports.
After being criticized for poor bowling in the T20 World Cup, he has been dropped out of the Indian side last year. But the return of the 28-year-old all-rounder to competitive cricket was immense. He made his return in the IPL 2022 with Gujarat Titans and lead the team to win the title of the tournament. He has scored 487 runs in IPL 2022 at 44.27, along with eight wickets. Then he has been drafted to the Indian side.
Hardik Pandya recently won the Man-of-the-series trophy in the ODI series against England. In the last T20 World Cup, Hardik Pandya played as a pure batter. He was also heavily criticized because of fitness issues. But in 2022, he led the same Indian team in the T20I series against Ireland and won the series 2-0.
Ravi Shastri hailed Hardik Pandya
On Tuesday, Ravi Shastri was full of praise for the Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya. Shastri advised team India to use Hardik Pandya carefully in the upcoming matches of the Asia cup. Hardik is an extremely important asset to the Indian side as an all-rounder. If he is excluded from the side, then the entire team will fall apart. Also, he admitted that he missed Hardik’s all-rounder role in the 2021 T20 World Cup.
“We missed him really badly last year in the (T20) World Cup when he couldn’t bowl. There is no one close to him when it comes to the quality that he possesses at that number. I think he is an extremely important player and has to be watched very closely. He is the last person you want to play in all those matches.”
Pandya was in impressive form since he returned from the break. He displayed his quick-fire batting during the South Africa series. He was an inevitable part of the team to win the England series along with Rishabh Pant. He has scored 71 runs off 55 balls along with a 4-wicket haul in the third ODI against England.
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