It's Difficult To Control Hardik Pandya Especially In End Overs: Saba Karim
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It’s Difficult To Control Hardik Pandya Especially In End Overs: Saba Karim

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya

Saba Karim thinks Hardik Pandya’s ability to play strokes all around the park makes him a difficult proposition for the opposition.

Hardik Pandya has become an indispensable member of the Indian limited-overs team over the last few years. Although he has not bowled much of late to avoid risking his lower back pain, he proved his credentials as a specialist batsman in the white-ball leg of India’s tour of Australia.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya scored 42 off 22 balls at the SCG to blast the tourists to a six-wicket Twenty20 win. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Saba Karim: Hardik Pandya’s Scoring Areas Or Range Has Increased

During a discussion on India News, former keeper Saba Karim pointed out that Hardik Pandya’s enhanced repertoire of strokes has made him a tough customer to bowl at by the opposition bowlers.

“From the last one year, I have seen a change in his batting, his scoring areas or range has increased. He can play brilliant shots on the off-side as well.

“It is very difficult to control this player and especially in the end overs, whatever you might try, whether it is the slower one, yorker, short delivery, his range is so big that he can play a shot from anywhere and increase his strike rate,” said Saba Karim.

Saba Karim
File photo of former wicketkeeper Saba Karim. – The Hindu

The former wicket-keeper stressed the fact that Hardik Pandya has played several blazing match-winning knocks for Team India as well as the Mumbai Indians.

“Hardik Pandya is already a star, especially in the shorter formats. Whenever he has got an opportunity, whether it is in the IPL for the Mumbai Indians or for the Indian team, he has performed. His strike rate has been extremely high in the match-winning knocks he has played and because of that he is such an incredible player,” added Saba Karim.

Except for the one ODI in Australia where Hardik Pandya bowled 4 overs, he hasn’t bowled much following his back surgery in 2019. He was arguably one of India’s standout performers in the limited-overs leg against Australia.
He hit 2 scores in the 90s in India’s otherwise poor performance in the ODIs. In the subsequent T20Is that followed, he scored 78 runs in three innings at an average of 39 and at a strike-rate of 156.00 which helped India chase down targets when odds were stacked against the team.

Saba Karim: Hardik Pandya Doesn’t Have Apparent Weakness And Plays Conventional Cricketing Shots Without Improvising

Saba Karim lauded Hardik Pandya for maintaining a high strike rate while playing orthodox strokes. Hardik Pandya is expected to play the finisher’s role in the 5 matches T20I series against England.

“The bigger thing is that he plays conventional cricketing shots. You don’t get to see too much improvisation. He doesn’t play high risk shots and plays shots according to his strengths,” added Saba Karim.

Rishabh Pant
Rishabh Pant File Photo: PTI

The 53-year-old signed off by stating that Hardik Pandya does not have any apparent weaknesses and can play big shots against both pace and spin.

“The opposition always thinks what sort of bowler should be used, spinner or pacer, who can prove to be a weakness for Hardik Pandya. But you don’t see any such weakness in this player because of which it remains a big area of concern in the opposition camp about which bowler to use to target him because he is known to play brilliant shots against all bowlers and we are seeing those shots in his batting,” concluded Karim.

India will hope that Hardik Pandya exhibits the same destructive form he showed in Australia in England T20Is. The likelihood of dashing in-form keeper Rishabh Pant accompanying him to play the finishers’ role will give the Virat Kohli-led side some much-needed firepower in the death overs.