Former Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin expressed concern over Hardik Pandya’s bowling span on the line of the latter’s injury woes.
Hardik hasn’t played a single international game for the Indian team since the T20 World Cup in UAE last year in November. Even during the mega event, Hardik displayed fitness issues as he bowled only four overs combinedly in a couple of games.
The Indian all-rounder made himself unavailable for selection in order to manage his fitness and also skipped domestic competition for Baroda.
We definitely want Hardik Pandya to bowl: Mohammad Azharuddin
In IPL 2022, the 28-year-old rolled his arms for 30.3 overs and returned with eight scalps at an average of 27.75 and an economy rate of 7.28.
Hardik has been named in India’s squad for the forthcoming home T20I series against South Africa. Azharuddin said the injuries in the past can play a deterrent in Hardik’s path to come back and bowl full-fledged.
“He (Hardik Pandya) has the ability, he has done well for the Indian team, but because of the injuries, he was not in the team consistently. He has come back now; he is bowling his four overs. How long he will bowl we really don’t know. But we definitely want him to bowl since he is an all-rounder,” Azharuddin was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times.
Hardik Pandya is a good talent, just needs that consistency: Mohammad Azharuddin
Hardik played a key role for Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2022 final against Rajasthan Royals, picking three wickets for 17 runs from four overs. The all-rounder accounted for the dismissals of Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and Shimron Hetmyer in the mega clash.
Hardik scored 34 off 30 balls (three fours and a six) to stabilise the Titans’ innings just after two early wickets in the Powerplay overs. Titans chased 131 with 11 deliveries to spare and clinched their maiden title in their first IPL season.
“In the IPL final (against Rajasthan Royals), he completely changed the game, three wickets in four overs, then he scored 34 quick runs. He is a good talent, just needs that consistency,” said the former Indian skipper.
India will play South Africa in the first T20 International match on June 9 in New Delhi.