India’s squad for the limited-overs internationals and the Test series is set to be announced on Monday and the big question facing the selection committee is whether to include Hardik Pandya in the squad given the fact that he has not bowled a single over since his return from a back injury.
Hardik has played as a pure batsman for the Mumbai Indians this season and while Aakash Chopra is hugely impressed with the manner in which he has gone about his business, the former Indian opener does not think that Hardik Pandya will make it the playing 11 in ODIs or T20s as a pure batsman.
“He has shown that he can bat, there is no doubt about it. Some of the shots that he has played in the IPL, he actually telling us that he can fit in the MI side as a pure batsman. But MI is a really strong side and it is a domestic tournament, no matter how good it is” Aakash Chopra told ESPNCricinfo.
“For Team India, he will be in the squad and then you’ll have to think hard again that ok can we bat him in the top-5? Because if you can’t bat in the top-5, then whoever is batting at No.6 should give you a few overs. Because you don’t want to play a T20 game or an ODI game with only five bowling options,” he said.
”So if Hardik is not bowling at all, he might not find a place in the playing XI in both formats,” Chopra claimed.
“Definitely not in the ODIs”- Sanjay Manjrekar on Hardik Pandya
Sanjay Manjrekar, on the other hand, reckoned that while Hardik Pandya will not warrant a place in the ODI side as a pure batsman considering the fact that KL Rahul is already batting at No,5 in the 50-over team, the Baroda all-rounder will make it to the T20I side even if he doesn’t bowl purely because of his ability to tee off from ball one while batting in the lower-middle order.
“Definitely not in the ODIs. Because don’t forget, KL Rahul is batting down the order because Dhawan will claim the top spot along with Rohit. And, then you have got Shreyas Iyer at No.4. So Hardik Pandya-the batsman- does not find a place in my 50-overs playing 11” Sanjay Manjrekar said.
“T20 cricket? Yeah. Because India does not have a Pollard kind of a player who will go and give you 14 runs per over and bowl 1-2 crucial overs. Hardik may not bowl at all but you’d be tempted to have somebody like him. Because you don’t have too many guys who will come in and hit the ball out of the park down at number 5, 6 or 7” he added.