IPL 2022: Former India coach and the 1983 world cup winner Ravi Shastri in interaction with ESPNcricinfo has said that he believes India would become a potential world cup winner if Hardik Pandya is at his full fitness with his all-round abilities.
In the last couple of years, Hardik Pandya has been struggling with injuries and therefore he has not been able to play the crucial all-rounders role the Indian team wanted him to play. India got knocked out of the ICC T20 WC last year even before the semi-finals.
It was the first time since 2013 that India did not qualify for the SF in an ICC event. Hardik Pandya did not have a great Indian Premier League and there were questions marks over his selection in the team because he had not bowled at all in the IPL. The Indian selectors at that time said that Hadik would bowl in the WC but he did not bowl in the practice games which raised several eyebrows.
Hardik Pandya Is Crucial To India’s Plans For The World Cup
After the WC, Hardik did not feature in any series for India as he focussed on getting back to his full fitness. He was acquired by the new franchise Gujarat Titans in the IPL drafts ahead of the 15th season of the league. He was declared as the captain of the side, he was asked several times if we would see him bowl in the IPL to which he always replied that it would be a surprise.
GT won their first-ever game in the IPL against the Lucknow Super Giants. The best part to come out of the game was that Hardik Pandya bowled his full quota of overs and also batted at 4 scored 33 crucial runs before getting out to his brother Krunal Pandya.
“I was delighted after seeing him in the last match. I was looking at his body language and focus… his concentration levels and discipline were evident. His mind was totally in the game. He is hungry and wants to come back to the side. The entire country will be happy seeing him bowl four overs. A match-winner like him is hard to find. If he finds his mojo, India straightaway becomes potential World Cup winners,” Shastri told ESPNCricinfo.
Gujarat’s team and the Indian team management would also hope that Pandya keeps his fitness and does well in the IPL and then at the T20 WC in Australia later this year.