India’s long search for a fast-bowling all-rounder ended with Hardik Pandya’s rise in international cricket. A dasher down the order, and a more than handy bowler, Pandya added an impeccable balance to the team. He played a pivotal role in India’s success overseas and scripted many memorable wins. However, a back injury, which he picked up in IPL 2020, has refrained him from bowling in the last year and a half.
The Indian management is keeping a keen eye on Hardik and will be hoping that the all-rounder regains his full fitness before the T20 World Cup. Hardik is gearing up for a limited-overs series against Sri Lanka that gets underway on July 18 in Colombo. He is one of the senior members of the team and is expected to play a big role, both with the bat and ball. Hardik will be eyeing this series to prove his fitness and get into reckoning of the selectors for the T20 World Cup.
However, former Indian cricketer Saba Karim feels that the series against Sri Lanka will not be easy for Pandya. Karim feels that pitches in Colombo will be similar to the ones in Chennai which troubled Hardik in IPL 2021.
“The Sri Lanka tour will be challenging for Hardik Pandya as a batsman because he was struggling on the slow Chennai pitches during the IPL. He will get similar wickets in Sri Lanka, so whether he can score runs at a good strike rate in such challenging conditions in white-ball cricket,” Saba Karim said.
Karim, however, feels if Pandya can reach his peak form and fitness, India’s chances in the T20 World Cup will be doubled.
“The biggest thing is that India’s chances in the T20 World Cup will get doubled if Hardik Pandya is fit. If he can both bowl and bat throughout the tournament, I feel India’s chances are extremely bright,” Karim said.
“Secondly, it is dependent on the Indian team management, both the one in England and the one in Sri Lanka currently, on how he is treated from here till the World Cup, how his workload is managed as he will regain his strength slowly,” he concluded.
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