Hardik Pandya’s all-round skills made him one of the most sought after players in T20 cricket. It is the reason he has been retained by Mumbai Indians so many times. His international career also looked great as he brought value with his all-round skills. He could walk in as a pure finisher and then would bowl as the second change bowler. All in all, he made life easier for India captain Virat Kohli.
Former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar concurred with this view. In a virtual PC for Sony India-official broadcasters of India-Sri Lanka series-he went onto say that Pandya’s absence is sometimes felt by the whole bowling unit.
“I hope he (Pandya) starts bowling. I am not quite sure why he didn’t bowl in the IPL. I think he bowled in the last ODI against England in Pune. So, I hope if there is an injury it must have been sorted. Because I think it was just a niggle that’s why he didn’t bowl. He walks into the side as a batsman but you need Hardik to bowl.”
He seconded the opinion that he makes life easy for the captain.
“We saw in that series (England ODIs) how there was pressure on the other five bowlers when he couldn’t bowl. So, if you have a sixth option, at this moment the way the white-ball cricket is, it is hard on bowlers. You need a sixth option as one or two bowlers will have a tough day with five players in the ring. And he (Pandya) is an ideal one; he is a seam bowling all-rounder. If he can give you those four overs then, at least two or three overs, it takes off huge pressure. And then you can alter your combination. You might play two spinners if Hardik is available. It just makes captain’s job easier.”
Meanwhile the UAE will be seeing non-stop cricketing action with IPL 2021 and T20 World Cup taking place back-to-back. In that case, the pitches won’t be fresh, and there is a possibility that they may worn out by the time T20 World Cup begins. Will it may lead to low-scoring games? Agarkar, who was in UAE when IPL 2020 took place, said he doesn’t think so.
“I mean there is only half of the IPL really (30 days). Look the pitches will be used up but I had covered the Abu Dhabi leg last year, and it stayed absolutely true. Sharjah was the only one which took a little bit of beating, but we didn’t see much difference in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I think what I have seen in Abu Dhabi, the pitches will stay true,” he added.
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