Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma
Hardik Pandya and Rohit Sharma. Image Credit: X

Since the India squad selection for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, questions have been raised over the place of Hardik Pandya, who has been struggling in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). Under his captaincy, Mumbai Indians find themselves at the foot of the points table with just three wins in 11 games.

Hardik Pandya has failed with both bat and ball in this IPL 2024, as he just managed 198 runs in 11 innings at an average of 19.80 and a strike rate of 147.76 with no fifties Only 10 sixes have come off his bat in those 11 innings so far.

Even with the ball in hand, the all-rounder has picked up only eight wickets in nine innings at an average of 37.12 and an economy of 11.

‘Name three people who can do what Hardik Pandya is doing’- Tom Moody

In the first and only press conference so far on India’s squad for the main event, India’s chief of selector Ajit Agarkar has defended the World Cup squad and has backed Hardik Pandya as a main player of the team.

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‘As long as he is fit, there is no replacement for what Hardik Pandya can do.’ Agarkar addressed this in the press conference. ‘He is coming after a longish layoff; We are hoping he’s working on it.’  

Former Australia cricketer Tom Moody has come forward in support of Hardik Pandya, who was on his first assignment in this IPL 2024 since his ankle injury in the ODI World Cup 2023. Moody felt that Hardik had a unique ability and there was hardly any player who could match his skills.

‘Name me three other people who can do what Hardik Pandya is doing. That’s the bottom line. That skill of being a genuine all-rounder who can bat in you top six and potentially bowl four overs for you is very rare in India at the moment.’ Moddy argued in Star Sports.

‘Yes, there are a few others that play domestic cricket and are okay, but not in international cricket, which is a different standard.’ Moody said on the show.

Along with Hardik, India have gone with another all-rounder Shivam Dube, who has been in superb touch of late in the IPL 2024. However, Dube has hardly bowled in the last few months for the Chennai Super Kings.

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Moody also believes that Hardik Pandya stands ‘head and shoulders’ with the other players and would be a very vital member for India in the campaign.

‘I think Hardik stands head and shoulders above anyone who is competing for that particular role. I think Ajit Agarkar has recognized that as the case and we have to give him longer rope with regards to his recovery, with regards to his form, and everything else.’ Moody discussed. ‘He is a very precious commodity in this country.’

Hardik Pandya will be competing with Shivam Dube for the all-rounder’s pace in the playing XI. His bowling, however, could make India a strong bowling unit in the event.