Salman Butt feels that Hardik Pandya’s body, in its present state, is too weak to shoulder the workload of an all-around player. According to the former Pakistan skipper, Salman Butt, the Indian cricketer is undoubtedly talented but will need to work extremely hard on building his physique.
Hardik Pandya has bowled sparingly since returning to international cricket following back surgery in 2019. He has even lost his place in the Test team due to his inability to bowl his medium pacers on a consistent basis.
Salman Butt: Hardik Pandya Needs Some Muscle In His Body But Skill Wise He Can Improve Himself But His Body Can’t Take Excess Workload
After missing out on a lot of action owing to a back injury, Hardik Pandya made a phenomenal comeback in the IPL 2020 season, playing the finisher role for the team and hammering the ball in the slog overs at a strike rate of 178. But in IPL 2021, he disappointed scoring only 52 runs in 7 games averaging a pathetic 8.66. He didn’t bowl in the last two IPL editions.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Salman Butt shared his views on Hardik Pandya and stated: “India had high hopes from Hardik Pandya, but he has been on a long layoff period. He looks very skilful when he bats. And when he was bowling before injury, he looked very effective with decent pace. But again, Hardik Pandya’s problem is that he is so slim, if there is extra load on his body, he will keep getting unfit.”
“He needs some muscle on his body. Skill-wise, he has a lot of capacity to become better and better. The way he bats and bowls… he has a very good bowling action. But again, his body cannot take the excess workload. That is what needs to be managed.”
Hardik Pandya, India’s premier seam-bowling all-rounder, has been dealing with his back injury issues, which have forced him to bowl less. He hasn’t played Test cricket since 2018 and he hasn’t been fit enough to bowl even short spells, let alone take the toll of a full day’s work.
He didn’t bowl a single ball in last season’s IPL, and in the first half of the IPL 2021 as well. But he is now gradually gaining fitness as the T20 World Cup nears. Being a pace-bowling all-rounder, it would be key for India that Hardik Pandya is able to provide his quota of 4 overs as that would give the desired balance to the eleven.
Salman Butt Doesn’t Know If There Is Any Issue With Hardik Pandya’s Physique
Salman Butt cited the examples of Kapil Dev and Imran Khan to explain why it is important to have a strong body structure to fulfill all-round duties.
The former Pakistan batter Salman Butt added: “If you compare Hardik Pandya with Kapil Dev or Imran Khan, they were far fitter than him. You can watch their YouTube videos. They were double in size, and had more muscle. I don’t know if there is any issue with Hardik Pandya’s physique. The physios and trainers must be definitely talking to him about it.”
Recently, National Cricket Academy (NCA) bowling coach Paras Mhambrey said that IPL 2021 would provide a decent idea of the extent to which Hardik Pandya can be utilized as a bowler, especially with the T20 World Cup coming up.
Speaking to IANS, Mhambrey said about the Mumbai Indians’ fast bowler: “Yes, the way I look at him, and the way I feel, I am sure he will bowl (in IPL). First step is the IPL. Maybe the franchise will decide how will they use him. That, kind of, will decide how it will be (a) preparatory ground for the World Cup.”
In the white-ball series in Sri Lanka last month, Hardik Pandya bowled 14 overs in three ODIs, picking up two wickets at an average of 48.5 and an economy rate of 6.92. He also sent down two overs in one T20I.
Against England in March, he had bowled 17 overs in the five T20 Internationals, picking three wickets and conceding runs at 6.94 an over which was the second-best on either side after Bhuvneshwar Kumar. He could complete his four-over quota in three of the five games. Hardik Pandya also bowled in the third and final ODI against England and was quite economical, conceding runs at 5.33 in nine overs.