#NewBytesExplainer: India to bank on Hardik Pandya in T20 WC
Hardik Pandya is touted as India's greatest all-rounder in today's time. He has been the mainstay all-rounder for Team India in the limited-overs format of late. The 26-year-old recently returned to competitive cricket from his prolonged back injury, having slammed two tons in the DY Patil T20 Cup. Here is why Hardik Pandya will be pivotal for India in the T20 World Cup.
Numbers may not do justice to the talent Pandya carries. Nevertheless, his credibility makes him India's prized possession in the shorter formats. In Pandya, India have a solid middle order batsman, who bolsters the batting line-up. His propensity to launch heavy blows has always been a big plus. He will also be useful seamer on the Australian decks that support pace and bounce.
Hardik Pandya's exploits in the 2017 Champions Trophy final kept the hopes alive even after Pakistan steered towards victory. Previously, Pandya defended 11 runs off the final over in the crucial World T20 clash against Bangladesh. In the IPL 2019, his 34-ball 91 almost pulled off a monumental run-chase for Mumbai Indians. Team India will bank on Pandya's proficiency in delivering at crucial junctures.
The inclusion of Pandya could make way for both Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal in the XI. Skipper Virat Kohli has been playing one of the two wrist-spinners for long, in order to play an extra batsman. With Pandya at the disposal, Team India will successfully cover all the three segments. His fielding will be an added bonus on the huge grounds in Australia.
Although Pandya hasn't been among runs in the shortest format, he owns a strike-rate of 147.61. His destructive knocks in the recently concluded DY Patil T20 tournament speak volumes about his stature. He slammed a 39-ball 105 against CAG in the final group stage match and followed it up with an unbeaten 158 off 55 deliveries. Pandya also starred in the wickets tally.
Pandya has a decent bowling record in T20 Internationals. He has accounted for 38 wickets from 40 T20Is at 25.68. In the IPL 2019, the Indian all-rounder claimed 14 scalps. He also averaged 44.67 in the batting segment, having scored 402 runs.