Hardik Pandya and news headlines have shared parallel seats for all wrong reasons in January 2019. Be it for his remarks on the famous TV show, Koffee with Karan; or the BCCI or CoA imposing a suspension on him, Hardik’s name has been on everyone’s lips. Meanwhile, the India National Cricket Team all-rounder returned to the ODI setup after the top bosses lifted the punishment.
However, upon his return, he took two wickets and grabbed a stunner on the field against New Zealand. Though his confidence would have suffered the beating before this, to know the skipper and the management backs him for the 2019 World Cup would lift his spirits high.
How about Hardik Pandya as a bowling all-rounder?
Pandya as a bowling all-rounder looks the likeliest of credentials to use for him, looking at his numbers. Though 2018 didn’t se the best of Pandya as a bowler, his overall numbers in ODIs suggest he could be a reliable pacer in the future.
Jump to the current situation; the 2019 World Cup is a few months away and looking at the venue (England and Wales); Pandya should prepare himself accordingly. In the past, we have seen, if conditions are suitable, Hardik could be deadly with the moving ball. How can anyone forget his maiden five-for in Tests?
Against England at the Trent Bridge, he took five wickets in a spell of six overs and turned the game on his head. At that point it appeared, he has that in him to trouble the batsmen with the ball in hand. Meanwhile, during the England T20Is, Pandya took four wickets in an inning as well.
So, yes, he can be a vital cog in the wheels for the India National Cricket Team in the 2019 World Cup. Now, let’s break the picture further. More or less, India has their bowlers listed for the mega event. From Bhuvneshwar, Shami and Bumrah to Kuldeep and Chahal, it looks like Virat Kohli has his hands full in that department. However, the part-timers are needed, and that’s where Kedar Jadhav will come into play.
Now, the question arises, where does Hardik Pandya fit in the setup? And if he does, how important would his role be?
Looking at the current setup of the Indian team, they have a knack up playing two pacers, two spinners and a preferred all-rounder. Though Bhuvneshwar, Bumrah, Kuldeep and Chahal look certain to start, Hardik’s role as the third seamer could come handy.
He could be used early in the Powerplay if the regular fast bowlers go for runs. Or else, he could be used in short spells depending on the situation of the game.
Though Hardik hasn’t been tried at the death overs; with the IPL 2019 on it’s way, who knows Mumbai Indians could use this chance to get him ready for pressure situations? Any given way, he could be a dependable bowling all-rounder India had been looking for a long time.