Former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has stated that he hasn’t been particularly disappointed with Hardik Pandya’s performance and stressed the capabilities of the all-rounder. Hardik Pandya did not have the best of times recently, starting from the IPL 2021 and it continued into the Sri Lanka series too.
Hardik’s overall numbers in the limited-overs format have started dipping and he will need to get back in form before the T20 World Cup. His two innings in the series against Sri Lanka compromised of a duck and 19 and that might not be good signs moving forward. However, he still remains a game-changer and his abilities are going to be crucial to India’s plans.
Muttiah Muralitharan Feels Hardik’s Batting Is Special
Muttiah Muralitharan opined that he would have Hardik Pandya in any of his teams in the world if he is the captain purely based on his abilities to bowl at 140 kph and also with his explosive batting. He stressed on the expectations on Hardik Pandya like a pure batsman is not going to work and instead, he wanted the management to see him as a short period batsman who can score 100 off 40 balls on his day.
“Hardik Pandya is a special player. If I was captain, I would have him in any team in the world – an IPL team, Australian team… any team in the world. Because he has got the ability to bowl at 140 clicks and he can adjust and also bowl slower. Because of the injury, I feel he couldn’t do much,”
“Secondly, his batting is also special. We can’t accept him to play like Nitish Rana, or Suryakumar Yadav… stay long and get runs. He is a short-period batsman who would bamboozle you with a 40-ball hundred. That’s the expectation I would have from him,” Muttiah Muralitharan said on ESPN Cricinfo.
“Put Him In And Let Him Play His Own Game” – Muttiah Muralidharan
Muttiah Muralitharan mentioned that when Hardik gets going, he can make a 20 ball fifty and termed as the ideal expectation. He did not want the management to expect Hardik to play a 70 ball 90 run knock and compared it to asking the explosive opener Sanath Jayasuriya to pace his innings slowly.
“He might get out in the first two overs but if he clicks for 20-30 balls, he would score 50 runs. So that is the expectation from Hardik Pandya. If you make him play 70 balls and expect 90 runs, he would not be the same player,”
“It’s like asking Jayasuriya to open and score at run a ball. He won’t be successful. These players can play No. 7 and 8 anytime. Put him in and let him play his own game,” Muttiah Muralitharan added.
Hardik Pandya’s return to bowling could be a major boost to the Indian team ahead of the T20 World Cup in October.