Team India selected Hardik Pandya over Manish Pandey for no.6 position in the recently concluded first ODI against Australia. As the fast-bowling allrounder is only being used as a pure batsman, some cricket boffins have suggested being used Manish Pandey instead of Hardik. But Gautam Gambhir has opined that Hardik is the right choice for batting as the finisher.
In the last tour of India against New Zealand, Hardik Pandya was injured and thus, Manish Pandey was playing in his place. He went on to impress with his batting. But as the allrounder has returned, the right-hand batsman has been benched.
I will go with Hardik Pandya: Gautam Gambhir
Gautam Gambhir took IPL performance into consideration to reason who needs to be the finisher of Team India in ODIs. Hardik had batted at number six position for Mumbai Indians while Manish Pandey was batting as the top-order batsman for SunRisers Hyderabad. So, Gambhir concluded that Hardik had got used to that position and gave a better performance.
“I think it’s more to do with the form he showed in the IPL because if you see, he was batting at No. 6 and Manish Pandey at No. 3,” Gautam Gambhir said in a video posted by ESPNCricinfo.
Even though IPL is a T20 format and not the right platform to judge for the 50-over format, Gambhir weighs that Pandya’s form has been brilliant.
“So, if you push Pandey and No. 6, you drop someone who’s already been batting at that position and has shown a lot of form in the IPL, it probably makes no sense. It’s a valid question whether he fits in the 50-over format as a batter. But again, I think his current form has given him the nod of playing at No. 6.”
“It’s about positions as well. If Shreyas Iyer is not doing well, you can push someone like Manish Pandey at No. 4. But between Pandey at No.6 and Pandya at No. 6, I will go with Hardik Pandya,” Gambhir explained.
Meanwhile, India has lost the first ODI against Australia by 66 runs. Hardik Pandya played a gun-blazing knock of 90 runs off 76 balls but it was not sufficient for India to chase down a mammoth 375 runs target.