Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra believes that Hardik Pandya needs to start bowling consistently once again. The addition of a seam-bowling all-rounder will provide Team India with a greater balance as they build towards the highly-anticipated T20 World Cup later this year.
The lack of a fast-bowling all-rounder also worked against India in the final of the World Test Championship against New Zealand. Pandya has not bowled regularly in the last few years because of his impending back and shoulder injury, but had started to get back to bowling slowly in international cricket.
He had bowled a few overs in Australia followed by a bit of bowling during the home series against England. However, much like last season, Pandya wasn’t involved with the ball for Mumbai Indians during the IPL.
“He will have to start bowling now. He bowled a few overs in Australia, then you played against England and in the IPL. You didn’t bowl for your team in the IPL as well. It’s been a very patchy kind of ride,” said Aakash Chopra on his YouTube channel.
The former opening batsman also added that Hardik Pandya will be crucial to add balance in the Indian team which lacks quality seam-bowling all-rounders. Although Ravindra Jadeja and Washington Sundar have played their roles well, they are spinners and along with Pandya, the trio can be fruitful for Team India.
“You were looking at him for Test cricket but he is not available for you there as well because he is not bowling. When you look at it from that vantage point, there is only one player like Hardik Pandya, he provides balance. Hardik Pandya as a fast-bowling all-rounder, Ravindra Jadeja as a spinning all-rounder and Washington Sundar with them, it becomes a superb team.”
Chopra also concluded by saying that even if Pandya bowls his four overs in T20s and gets into a strong rhythm during the IPL, India will have a more potent asset at their hands during the World Cup.
“There are six encounters here, even if he doesn’t bowl ten overs in the ODIs, but six to eight and bowls his full quota in T20s, full overs in the IPL and then definitely in the World Cup because Hardik Pandya bowling makes it easier for India to get the right balance,” he added.