Ashish Nehra worked closely with Hardik Pandya as part of the IPL 2022-winning Gujarat Titans’ think-tank in their debut season. The Gujarat Titans’ head coach has been impressed with the all-rounder’s performance since his comeback to international cricket.
The former India left-arm pacer, however, doesn’t wish to speculate as to when Hardik Pandya can bowl his full quota of overs in the 50-over format.
Ashish Nehra: All Rounder Hardik Pandya Can Be In Any White Ball Team Solely As A Batter
The substantial back surgery that Hardik Pandya underwent in 2019 has had a significant influence on his bowling. His IPL coach Ashish Nehra feels that Hardik Pandya can be used in the team as the sixth bowler and he should be considered as a batting all-rounder.
“Even Hardik won’t be able to answer that since you can plan but things don’t always fall into place. But so far so good. Hardik can be in any white ball team solely as a batter. On top of that, if he bowls it will be a bonus. But you can’t keep him as your fifth bowler in T20 or 50 overs. He can only be your sixth bowler,” Ashish Nehra, who is on the Sony Sports commentary panel, said during an interaction on Wednesday.
“But looking at his fitness, you have to build it up slowly. He will not be going to the West Indies for ODIs which is good in a way. When you are an out-and-out fast bowler you don’t have a choice. You have to bowl, you have to be fit… But it’s not the case with Hardik. He has been doing well during the last 2-3 months.”
“He can bowl 10 overs also in 50-over cricket. But even if he gives 5-6 overs, it’s a huge bonus. Yesterday (Tuesday) you had four bowlers besides Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik. You are only going to struggle when you look at Hardik as your fifth bowler,” Nehra explained.
In the first match of the three-match T20I series, Hardik Pandya was stunning as he went to score his maiden T20 international half-century off 30 balls as India scored 198-8. Hardik Pandya’s bowling attack also dismantled the English side as he managed 4-33 in his four overs. In the 1st ODI, he was required to bowl only 4 overs though.
Ashish Nehra Praised Jasprit Bumrah For Meeting Expectations And Backs Umran Malik And Arshdeep Singh To Do Well
Jasprit Bumrah’s consistency across formats has impressed Ashish Nehra the most though he is pinning hopes on young Arshdeep Singh.
“In the last 3/4 years Bumrah has been bowling consistently in all formats. He always keeps learning and brings something new to the table. Bumrah and (Mohammed) Shami have been brilliant all through. The way Bumrah has tackled the workload has been exemplary in all conditions,” said Ashish Nehra.
“Bumrah has been meeting expectations which are good for the team. His confidence will increase (following his career-best 6 for 19 at The Oval on Tuesday)…And if it involves someone of Bumrah’s caliber, the opposition will be under pressure.”
“The IPL has been a good platform. There’s Umran Malik, even Arshdeep is good. Hope he gets to play in the West Indies. The competition is good. As a left-arm pacer, he is the closest to getting a break. Who knows he could be a regular in T20s. Earlier Natarajan and Khaleel (Ahmed) were there but they have been out with injuries.”
“A left-arm pacer is always an asset because of the angle he creates. Every team wants a left-arm pacer for variety. Arshdeep has to be patient and wait for his turn. Let’s hope he keeps doing well,” Ashish Nehra said.
Ashish Nehra doesn’t endorse the view that Umran Malik has to sacrifice pace to master control and variation.
“Not at all. Especially since Umran is at a very important stage of his career where he can bowl flat and go all out. He is young and slowly will understand his body since bowling consistently at 145-150kmph is not easy. You have to be physically very strong which he is… But he shouldn’t cut down on pace. He will learn with time and experience to bowl with discipline without getting slower,” Ashish Nehra said.
Ashish Nehra backed Virat Kohli saying he deserves extra chances based on his past reputation and that he should stay away from “outside voices”. He also felt that a month-long break from the West Indies tour before the Asia Cup 2022 would rejuvenate Virat Kohli.
“There will be discussions even if you’re not a player of Kohli’s caliber. When you are playing, you try to focus on your game and not listen to so-called outside voices. It’s important how your teammates, management, and selectors are backing you… but we are talking about a guy like Virat,” said Ashish Nehra.
“Yes, it’s not written anywhere that he will keep playing for India even if he doesn’t score runs. But when you have done so much in the past, you will always get extra chances. Let’s hope we see a different Virat after the West Indies series,” said Ashish Nehra.
Virat Kohli had a poor outing in the one-off Test against England as he managed to score only 11 and 20. His poor form continued in T20Is too as he failed to make a mark on his comeback. The batting superstar was out for just 1 off 3 balls in the 2nd T20I and scored 11 off 6 balls in the 3rd T20I before a minor groin strain ruled him out of the first ODI. He is doubtful for the 2nd ODI too.