After suffering a rare series loss at home against Australia in three-match ODI series, Indian cricket team players have joined their respective franchises for 2023 season of Indian Premier League (IPL). Two months of T20 cricket will help the Indian team management get more clarity on how to position players as they kick-off preparation for ODI World Cup 2023, set to be played in India, this year. One of the key players for Men in Blue in 2023 ODI World Cup will be Gujarat Titans (GT) captain Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder has been in exceptional form in white-ball format and it is being predicted that he is the ‘chosen one’ to replace Rohit Sharma as India’s captain in ODIs and T20Is after ODI World Cup gets over.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) senior wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik, probably playing his career’s last IPL, has named Hardik Pandya as ‘the most important player’ in Indian lineup.
“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 recently-concluded IND vs AUS ODIs, Hardik helped India get important breakthroughs.
“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.”