Former Indian great Sunil Gavaskar has named two players who can replace Hardik Pandya as all-rounder in the national team. Pandya is the solitary seam bowling all-rounder which the Indian team currently has.
However, the all-rounder from Baroda hasn’t been in the best of forms in the recent past, which has put the pressure on the team.
Pandya could not get going while playing for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021. Furthermore, Pandya scored 19 runs in the two innings in the three-match series against Sri Lanka. The right-hander didn’t get a chance to bat in the first ODI whereas he was dismissed without troubling the scorers in the second match.
Meanwhile, Pandya returned to bowling duties but could not deliver big with the ball as he scalped two wickets in three matches. Pandya bowled five overs in the opening ODI and went wicketless. Furthermore, Pandya conceded his runs at an economy rate of 6.92 and bowled with an average of 48.50.
In fact, Pandya was returning to bowling duties after a long time, there were huge expectations from the all-rounder but he wasn’t able to stand tall to them.
On the other hand, Gavaskar feels Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar both can be groomed into all-rounders. Chahar played a match-winning knock of unbeaten 69 runs off just 82 balls in the second ODI against Sri Lanka and took the team over the line.
Furthermore, Kumar is not a mug with the bat and he can also contribute while batting down the order. The right-hander from Uttar Pradesh had also played a supporting role in the second ODI win as he had scored 19 runs.
“Of course, there is back-up. You recently saw Deepak Chahar; he proved that he can be an all-rounder. You did not give Bhuvneshwar Kumar that opportunity. Two-three years ago, when India played in Sri Lanka, then he along with Dhoni, had won India a match. The scenario in that match was similar to the second ODI. They had lost 7-8 wickets and Bhuvneshwar and Dhoni had won that match for India,” Gavaskar said on Sports Tak.
“You never even thought, but these two players could be all-rounders too. He has that batting talent. You’re only looking at one person. What has happened in the last 2-3 years is that others who deserved a lot more opportunities, haven’t got them. And that is why, now today you are looking at one player and saying ‘oh he’s not in form’. If you give these guys opportunities, you can find all-rounders,” he added.
The second T20I between India and Sri Lanka will take place at R. Premadasa Stadium, Colombo on 28th July as the match was postponed after Krunal Pandya was tested positive.