Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir. Image-PTI.

Former India batsman Gautam Gambhir feels that Hardik Pandya is in the scheme of the selection and can surely make a comeback in the side, given the all-rounder improves his fitness levels.

Pandya is missing from the ongoing T20I series against New Zealand. It is not known whether he has been dropped or rested to work on his fitness. Pandya bowled just 4 overs in five T20 World Cup matches, and still isn’t completely fit for bowling 4 overs in the T20s on a regular basis.

Gautam Gambhir believes that Pandya is a proven match-winner, and it would take time for the management to find a replacement for him.

Hardik Pandya, Indian Bowler
Hardik Pandya (Image Credit: Twitter)

“You want find a No.6 in one day. Nor will you find a replacement for it. And you cannot count out Hardik Pandya as well. People have already started writing him off, but if he keeps himself fit, does regular bowling, come back to form, he should definitely get a chance, he is still young,” Gautam Gambhir told India Today.

If you give other players a chance, give them a longer rope: Gautam Gambhir

Venkatesh Iyer has played in the first two T20I against New Zealand. After his brilliant show in the IPL 2021, he helped KKR to the final. Iyer’s batting exploits, coupled with his ability to provide a bowling option, has made him a solid backup candidate for Pandya.

However, Gautam Gambhir asserted that players need to be given a longer rope for the management to learn more about them.

Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel with Rohit Sharma and Venkatesh Iyer. Credits BCCI

“But with that, if you give other players a chance as well, and give them a longer rope, only then will you understand their capability. If you keep changing players after every series you won’t be able to find your best XI. There is replacement for every player in this country, given the amount of cricket we play in India, no one is invincible or indispensable. But players must be trusted with the role for a longer period to understand their capabilities,” the former KKR captain added.

Harshal Patel and Shardul Thakur are other options as pace-bowling all-rounders. Patel made his India debut in the second T20I versus New Zealand and bagged the Man of the Match award.

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