Former India wicket-keeper batter Parthiv Patel believes that Hardik Pandya has still a long way to go before warranting his place in the Indian team. The all-rounder has led Gujarat Titans to the playoffs in their maiden campaign and has taken responsibility with the bat as well. However, his bowling still remains a grey area.
Pandya’s recurring injury concern forced him to play as a pure batter on a majority of the occasions for both the Indian team as well as franchise cricket. After the ploy did not pay dividends in the 2021 T20 World Cup, Pandya found himself dropped from the side.
After extensive rehabilitation, the 28-year-old returned back to an all-rounder capacity in the ongoing IPL 2022. While he bowled his full quota of overs in the initial set of matches, he has withheld himself with the ball as the tournament has progressed.
Believing that Pandya has to bowl on a regular basis to win his spot back in the Indian squad, Parthiv Patel said on Cricbuzz:
“You need to a pick a fully fit player. You can’t pick a player for bowling at 140 km/h in two matches. You reach World Cup and if he gets injured then what happens? It will be India’s loss. You need to play at least a few 4-day matches and then only you can judge the fitness,”
The former India player added in this regard:
“When a bowler in excess of 140 at the start of the tournament and bowls at different phases of the innings and then suddenly one small injury stops you from bowling completely. So this will be a concern for sure but if we quote his statement, he himself had stated that he shouldn’t be considered for selection till he doesn’t contribute fully as an all-rounder,”
The Titans have not necessarily missed the services of their skipper when it comes to bowling. Comprising of Mohammad Shami, Lockie Ferguson, Alzarri Joseph and newcomer Yash Dayal, the pace attack has taken care of itself and has been one of the standout ones in the tournament.
The new franchise became the first team to qualify for the playoffs after amassing 18 points. They still have two matches remaining through which they can seal a top-two spot and secure their position in Qualifier 1 of the playoffs.
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