Former Australia speedster, Mitchell Johnson feels all-rounder Hardik Pandya could be among the significant players for India in the upcoming Asia Cup 2018 clash against Pakistan. As per the schedule, India is slated to play Pakistan on 19th September in the UAE.
However, the Men in Blue will lock horns against the qualifying side on 18th September followed by the massive game against their arch-rivals the next day.
“Against Pakistan, India’s age-old cricketing rival and neighbour. Keeping UAEs pitch conditions in mind, I think seamers like Umesh Yadav and Hardik Pandya would work in India’s favour,” Johnson, was quoted as saying by the PTI.
Mitchell Johnson praises Hardik Pandya and Umesh Yadav
“Pandya is currently doing well in the United Kingdom. He is utilising the conditions well. Pandyas ability to extract pace from pitches and smartly bowling at length. When required will help knock out the tricky Pakistani batting line-up.
“I am actually excited to see the way Umesh Yadav will bowl in the Asia Cup. Yadav’s biggest asset lies in the ability to choke an opposition at crunch times along with knocking opponents out with variations/reverse swing during his spells,” he added.
“Yadav, along with Pandya and (Jasprit) Bumrah, can perfectly set up the situation for the spinners. They would be carrying the mantle of negotiating matches through the middle overs,” explained Johnson, who has 313 wickets to his credit from 73 Tests.
Hardik Pandya has been an asset to the Indian team in all three formats of the game. It was in the 3rd Test that the all-rounder bagged his maiden five-wicket haul against England in Nottingham. However, Johnson conceded the fact that Pakistan will have a clear advantage given their past experiences of playing in those conditions.
“Pakistan will have the upper hand. They will enjoy playing in UAE due to its prior experience of playing in the PSL (Pakistan Super League) and knowing the weather/pitch conditions inside out,” he said. Hence they will be in good stead ahead of the tournament.
The left-arm pacer who tormented star batsmen during his heydays said that the bowlers might dominate Asia Cup 2018.
“The pitches in UAE have traditionally produced belters. Moreover, with the bowling line-up all the teams possess currently we might remember this year’s tournament as the bowlers’ tournament,” he remarked.