ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Importance of Hardik Pandya for India
Hardik Pandya who is enjoying a great turnaround in form and fortunes since his unsavoury comments on a TV talk show earlier this year is certainly one of the big hopes for India in the upcoming 2019 World Cup.
London: Hardik Pandya who is enjoying a great turnaround in form and fortunes since his unsavoury comments on a TV talk show earlier this year is certainly one of the big hopes for India in the upcoming 2019 World Cup.
After being called back midway through the Australian tour, Pandya came back strongly with some stunning performances with both bat and ball in the IPL 2019.
Not just Pandya’s services gives the team the right balance, but also it allows Virat Kohli to tinker with the team combinations.
His inclusion allows Kohli to play just two frontline quicks, which allows both the wrist spinners—Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal—to feature and dictate the terms.
Pandya has proved that he can play the waiting game if required and unleash hell on the opposition at the death. He could play a major role in being India’s third or fourth seamer, as traditionally the English conditions should suit his style of bowling.
The flat nature of the pitches in the recently concluded series between England and Pakistan could also suit his power hitting to the tee.
Given all the conditions, the all-rounder is expected to play a big role if Virat Kohli’s side wants to go deep into the tournament.
Even as a bowler, the 25-year old has also grown in leaps and bounds since his debut. Due to improved fitness levels, he has added a few more yards of pace to his bowling.
He has also introduced new variations like the effective short ball, the slower ball, slower bouncer and a near-perfect yorker in his armoury.
Dark spell: Injury & strife
Despite his success, injuries and controversies continued to walk hand in hand with Pandya.
After a terrific outing with the Indian team, Pandya suffered a career-threatening back injury during the Asia Cup last year. But with sheer determination and hard work, he was back in business soon.
He was embroiled in controversy for his remarks on the television show ‘Koffee with Karan’.
With the Cricket Board (BCCI) suspending him and KL Rahul, things looked difficult for the all-rounder.
All-rounder India craves for
Pandya appears to be the all-rounder India have always looked out for but seldom had. However, over the past couple of years, he has gradually added a mean streak to his game.
Pandya spells mayhem for the opposition with his destructive batting while his seam bowling is underrated.
In the recently concluded IPL, he took his beloved Mumbai Indians to targets they seldom looked like achieving in the past.
When the ball is in his arc, he will smote it to all parts of the ground and with disdain that is seldom seen.
Turning it around
One innings that springs to mind is an ODI between India and Australia in Chennai in 2017. India had lost early wickets and it was left to MS Dhoni and Pandya to steady the ship. Pandya played a brilliant inning alongside MSD, taking India to a decent target which they defended in the rain-affected game. Team would be hoping that Pandya would be the go-to man in crunch situations.
As Pandya gears up for his maiden World Cup sojourn in England with much expectation, he would be reminded of the old English proverb--actions speak louder than words!