Monty Panesar
Monty Panesar. Image-Twitter.

Former England spinner Monty Panesar has advised Indian captain Virat Kohli to include Shardul Thakur in the playing XI if Hardik Pandya doesn’t bowl in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

Hardik Pandya who has been named in India’s T20 World Cup 2021 squad as a fast-bowling all-rounder has not bowled for quite some time now. In his recent IPL stint with Mumbai Indians (MI) Hardik was playing a pure batsman in the team. Also in the recent warm-up game against England, the 28-year old didn’t bowl.

Hardik Pandya, T20 World Cup 2021
Hardik Pandya (Image Credit: Twitter)

Monty Panesar believes that Hardik can’t be included in the team as a pure batsman. Speaking to TimesofIndia.com Monty Panesar said:

If Hardik Pandya is in the Indian team, he needs to be batting and bowling. He just can’t go to the middle and only bat.”

Virat Kohli, Hardik Pandya
Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya (Image Credit: ICC Twitter)

Panesar further added that Shardul Thakur should be added to the playing XI if Hardik doesn’t bowl and opined that Hardik needs to be fully fit to bat and ball if he wants to be in the playing XI. Former England spinner asserted:

If he is not bowling, Virat should include Shardul Thakur in the team (playing XI). India are looking for a genuine all-rounder and that’s why India looked towards Hardik Pandya. Hardik needs to find a way to keep himself fit and keep things in the right direction. If he needs to stay in the team, he needs to bat and bowl and he needs to properly fit in.”

Virat Kohli’s Trump Card Will Be Shardul Thakur – Monty Panesar

Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur (Image Credit: Twitter)

The 39-year-old has named Shardul Thakur as the trump card of Virat Kohli in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021. Panesar stated:

Virat’s trump card will be Shardul Thakur. He is a guy who brings surprises with both bat and ball. Virat will be looking at Shardul in the tournament. And I am hundred per cent confident trump card Shardul will win the World Cup for Virat. That’s why they have included him in the squad because he is a match-winner.”

Monty Panesar added that the opposition might consider Shardul a “bits and pieces” cricketer but he feels the fast bowling all-rounder is a “match-winner”. Former England Cricketer stated:

The opposition considers him a “bits and pieces” cricketer. He is another Manoj Prabhakar for India. But I would compare Shardul with Ben Stokes. He is a match-winner and is going to surprise a lot of players in the tournament.”

Also Read: That No. 3 Position Has Been An Achilles Heel For Us – Sri Lanka Coach Mickey Arthur