Former South Africa batsman Jonty Rhodes believes allrounder Hardik Pandya could be India’s X-factor in the upcoming World Cup. Pandya was in sensational form in this year’s Indian Premier League, playing a big role in Mumbai Indians’ march to the title. The allrounder impressed with both bat and ball to finish the competition as one of the most impactful players.

More often than not, Pandya bailed out Mumbai Indians with his stunning power-hitting. He was equally impressive with the ball and gave his side crucial breakthroughs throughout the competition. He faced just 210 balls in the competition but still ended up hammering 402 runs at a strike-rate of over 190.  With the ball too, he was effective as he picked up 14 wickets and as usual, he was flawless on the field.

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“He is a player who can turn a game with bat and ball,” said Jonty Rhodes. “Sometimes he is criticised in India mainly, in that he gets compared to Kapil Dev as an all-rounder, but I think he is slightly undervalued with the contributions that he does make as he has a knack of taking wickets. He scores runs fairly consistently down the order towards the death,” he added.

BCCI

On who are the favourites for the World Cup, Rhodes did not pick a particular team, saying that any top six teams can fancy beating each other on any day. He also advised the teams against taking West Indies lightly.

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“It’s going to be tough to choose one favourite or even three favoutites or four. The competition is wide open and six of the top sides, ranking wise, honestly on the day can beat any side. You have to consider the West Indies,” Jonty Rhodes said.

Cricket World Cup, experience
Image Credit: ICC

The World Cup, meanwhile, gets underway on May 30 with hosts England taking on South Africa. India, on the other hand, will open their campaign on June 5 against South Africa.