Former India opener Aakash Chopra stressed the importance of all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the Indian team and said that all plans will fail if Pandya doesn’t contribute and lends balance to the side thanks to him bowling four overs in T20Is.
Hardik Pandya spent six months out of cricket working on his fitness as he spent 2020 and 2021 not bowling as he was troubled with back issues. He made his comeback in the IPL 2022 as captain of the new franchise Gujarat Titans and led them to the title win, in the course, showing that he could bowl and bat-like before and was much fitter.
And following the announcement of the 15-member squad for the competition, former India cricketer Aakash Chopra made a massive claim on Hardik Pandya and the importance of his place in the India T20I squad.
Hardik Pandya Is The Only Player In That Squad Providing Balance: Aakash Chopra
India will play Pakistan in their first match of the Asia Cup 2022 on August 28 in Dubai. The BCCI named the 15-man squad which saw the return of KL Rahul, and Virat Kohli into the team. Rahul had spent the time after IPL 2022 injured, while Kohli was rested for the West Indies tour.
Speaking to Star Sports after the big announcement, Aakash stressed on the importance of Hardik bowling four overs in a T20I game and the balance he provides to the XI. He further mentioned that India may find a replacement for Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Jasprit Bumrah, but they are not going to find someone to replace Hardik Pandya.
“It’s an insurance policy (on Hardik bowling 4 overs). He is performing very well. No doubt about that. But be mindful of one thing. Hardik Pandya is the only player in that squad who is proving that balance. Without him, all the well-laid plans will fall apart. Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, even Jasprit Bumrah you can manage to find a replacement for them. But if Hardik Pandya is not there you cannot make that XI,” he said.
“So maybe against Pakistan, he can bowl four overs, but not against teams like Afghanistan or Sri Lanka. So use him judiciously,” he explained.