Team India will lock horns with Sri Lanka in three ODIs and as many T20Is in the upcoming days and Hardik Pandya will be extremely crucial for the visitors during both rubbers.
Pandya is also expected to roll his arm over during the Sri Lankan tour but, according to Saba Karim, the Baroda cricketer’s biggest challenge will come with the bat as he will likely encounter the slow and sluggish tracks, something he failed to counter while playing in similar conditions at the Chepauk earlier this year.
‘’The Sri Lanka tour will be challenging for Hardik Pandya as a batsman because he was struggling on the slow Chennai pitches during the IPL. He will get similar wickets in Sri Lanka, so whether he can score runs at a good strike rate in such challenging conditions in white-ball cricket.” Saba Karim told India News.
Karim further reckoned that the Sri Lankan tour is extremely crucial for Hardik Pandya with regards to his fitness, and if he can prove the same, then the selectors may as well send him to England for the Test series given the fact that Team India is in desperate need of a seam-bowling all-rounder.
‘’The Sri Lanka tour is very important for Hardik Pandya. Because there are two selectors there, they can watch him closely, so if he is fit here and doesn’t have any problems after bowling, it would have to be seen if he can be sent from here to England for Test cricket because we need a fast-bowling all-rounder.” he said.
‘India’s chances of winning the T20 World Cup will get doubled if Hardik Pandya is fit’- Saba Karim
That said, more than the five-day format, Hardik Pandya is extremely crucial to India’s fortunes in white-ball cricket, especially T20Is, given the fact that there are two back-to-back T20 World Cup lined up in the next 15 months.
Pandya, with his all-round skills, gives the much-needed balance to the Indian team, and Saba Karim believes that the Virat Kohli-led unit’s chances will get doubled if the Mumbai Indians all-rounders can bat and bowl consistently throughout the competition.
‘’The biggest thing is that India’s chances in the T20 World Cup will get doubled if Hardik Pandya is fit. If he can both bowl and bat throughout the tournament, I feel India’s chances are extremely bright,” he said.
Karim signed off by stating the onus of ensuring that Hardik Pandya is at peak fitness by the time the T20 World Cup comes around, lies on the team management.
”Secondly, it is dependent on the Indian team management, both the one in England and the one in Sri Lanka currently, on how he is treated from here till the World Cup, how his workload is managed as he will regain his strength slowly.