Hardik Pandya IPL 2024.
Hardik Pandya IPL 2024. Image Credit: X

With India selecting only three pure fast-bowlers in the squad, the role of Hardik Pandya will be so vital for India in the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, set to be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States of America (USA).

The all-rounder has been quite good for India, but his recent form hasn’t helped him in the field, while a bit of family issue has made it quite tough for him off the field too. Even though the inaugural champions of the competition have gone with Shivam Dube as the back-up, the experience of the Gujrat-born will be so important too.

What Hardik Pandya brings to the team’s set-up is the batting power at the lower down the order, which is quite a boon for any side, while if he could offer the team at least two to three overs with the ball, the balance of the side will be shaped perfectly.

‘Hardik Pandya will maintain the balance of the team’ – Sunil Gavaskar

One of the headaches for India going into the opening game against Ireland on June 05, will be their bowling combination. Will they go with two bowlers in the pace department? Who will be Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling companion?

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Will India go with two spinners? And if so, who will win the toss-up between Yuzvendra Chahal and Kuldeep Yadav? And all of these enquiries will be sorted out once Hardik Pandya bowls at a certain stage.

Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar feels that India should look to go with three spinners in the team, even though he hasn’t specified whether it could be Yuzvendra Chahal or the all-rounder Axar Patel. That’s after both Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav are certainties in the playing eleven.

The former India captain also feels that it’s a no-brainer that Jasprit Bumrah will be the leader of the pace-bowling attack, while Hardik Pandya will be the back-up, as both Mohammad Siraj and Arshdeep Singh sit out in Gavaskar’s line-up.

“A balanced bowling attack is the most important in West Indies, so India can go with three spinners and two fast bowlers, with Hardik Pandya as the backup fast bowler,” Sunil Gavaskar expressed during a chat with the Dainik Jagran. “I think this will maintain the balance of the team.”

Hardik is coming into the IPL 2024, with 216 runs at a strike rate of 143.04, while Shivam Dube, batting at number four mainly for the Chennai Super Kings has drilled 396 runs at a strike rate of 162.29. Even though the latter didn’t bowl much in this league, Pandya ended up with 11 scalps at an economy of 10.75.

Under the monitorship of Rohit Sharma, Dube bowled a few overs, while Hardik Pandya had a hour-long drill during the net session of the team.

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Gavaskar, like many other former cricketers also feels that India have picked a nice mixture of youth and experience in the team, to have the right balance.

“I believe that this is a team that has a good mix of experience and youth,” the veteran remarked. “Along with Rohit, Virat, Surya, Bumrah, there are young players like Yashasvi, Rishabh, Shivam, who strengthen the team.”

The T20 World Cup 2024 will begin on June 01, with the opening game at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas, between USA and Canada. India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan on June 09, at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York.