Former India batsman, Aakash Chopra feels that Hardik Pandya is underutilized at number 6 in T20Is and should be promoted one position up. Hardik Pandya has been in phenomenal form since returning from his injury in the IPL. He has carried that form into international cricket during the ODI series against Australia.
Pandya averaged 35 in the IPL and batted at a strike rate of 178- third highest of the tournament following Kieron Pollard and Jofra Archer. Finished provided by Pandya and Pollard were a key factor in Mumbai Indians retaining their title.
Pandya was the leading run-scorer for India in the 3-match ODI series in Australia. The right-hander scored 210 runs at a strike rate of 114, winning the Man of the Match in the third ODI as he and Ravindra Jadeja bailed out the team from a dire situation.
In the first T20I, Pandya batted at number 6, behind Sanju Samson and Manish Pandey. He scored 16 from 15 balls before getting caught at long-off trying to hit Moises Henriques for a maximum.
Hardik at no.6 is counter-productive for India: Aakash Chopra
Ahead of the second T20I on Sunday in Sydney, Aakash Chopra pointed out that Since Ravindra Jadeja is ruled out of the series owing to a concussion he suffered in the first match, Yuzvendra Chahal should slot in straightaway for Jadeja.
Chahal was the concussion substitute for Jadeja and grabbed the Man of the Match award for picking three important Aussie wickets. Rest, Chopra doesn’t see any other changes in the line-up which won the match in Canberra.
In his Facebook video, Aakash Chopra said, “There is the scope of only one change, which already happened in the first match. I feel the same XI will play now, the one which played in the second innings of the Canberra T20I. Chahal will come in Jadeja’s place and the rest of the team will remain the same.”
The 43-year-old opines that Hardik Pandya should be batting at number 5 as number 6 seems a bit too low for someone who is in tremendous form in the recent past. The commentator realizes that though it wouldn’t be fair to whoever is shifted down – Samson or Pandey – but if Pandya isn’t batting at no.5, it could actually prove to be detrimental for the team.
“But Hardik at No.6, that’s the question. I want him to bat at No.5 but you will be doing injustice to whoever bats at No.6, whether it is Manish Pandey or Sanju Samson. It’s not ideal but if you send Hardik at No.6, that is actually detrimental and counter-productive because you have got a player who has got the form and you are not sending him up the order,” Aakash Chopra added.