After a rare ODI series loss at home to Australia, the Indian cricket team stars have joined or are joining their respective franchises for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. The two months of franchise T20 cricket is likely to give the Indian team management even more idea of how the players are positioned entering the World Cup-preparation phase. One player who will be closely watch is Gujarat Titans captain Hardik Pandya. Since the last IPL, Pandya has been doing great with the bat as well as ball and led his team to a title triumph in its first season.
Being a fast bowling allrounder, makes Pandya “unarguably the most important player” in the Indian lineup, feels India and Royal Challengers Bangalore star wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
“He is unarguably the most important player in the lineup. A: because he brings two skills to the floor and the fact that he brings two tough skills to the floor. Medium pacer and batting all-rounder is something that is very, very hard to get. Yes, there are 2-3 players who are probably spinning all-rounders, but fast bowling all-rounders is very hard to get”, Karthik said on Cricbuzz.
In the recently-concluded ODI series against Australia, Pandya provided important breakthroughs and was decent with the bat.
“He bats really well through the middle and obviously when it comes to bowling, he seems to find a way to chip in and get wickets. What makes him really hard to play is his natural link because the way he bowls, you always feel he is going to keep short of length. But the moment he starts bowling fuller, the batsman’s weight is on the backfoot, looking for the short ball a lot more and hence you always tend to be slightly slower. It was a well-thought out dismissal of Mitchell Marsh, he changed the pace well, he got Travis Head to play a pull shot, dropped in deep square. But again got him playing a cut shot,” Karthik added.
“He is bowling well. He is definitely a very important cog in the wheel. He is one of those players that literally make up the outlook of the team, the way the team is constructed depends on where Hardik Pandya is. Suddenly if you remove him from the whole team and you feel that are we going a batter more or are we going a batter less. It becomes a massive question mark. For Team India, the key player is Hardik Pandya and if he is in form, he brings a lot to the table.”
Topics mentioned in this article