One of the highlights of the IPL has been how sensational Hardik Pandya has been for Mumbai Indians. He’s batted tremendously well and contributed whenever and wherever he could with the ball. The kinds of pitches that are on offer have not really deterred him from going after the bowling at all. In fact, even on some of the slowest pitches, he has smashed it around with ease.
What this does is it bodes well for the World Cup as well because if we just strain our memory a little bit we’ll remember that one of the key areas where the Indian team really struggles is the presence of that explosive batsman at the end that could give a strike rate of around 200 and at the same time be consistent enough that such innings are not just a flash in the pan.
Having Hardik in such form and fulfilling that role admirably is only going to help give the score that final push. At the same time though the Indian team needs to be very careful with how they approach this Hardik Pandya situation. They have in the past shown the propensity of maybe getting too excited with the presence of an all-rounder and maybe stretch things a bit too far.
Irfan Pathan is a proper case in point where he was asked to do something he wasn’t picked in the side to primarily do and it ended up affecting his bowling really badly and we all know that his is one of the most unfulfilled careers in Indian cricketing history.
India needs to identify Hardik as what he is, and that is, a decent bowler who’ll snatch a wicket or two and give your 6-8 overs every match and with that, he’ll supplement with good hitting power at the end of the innings.
He’s not a player who’ll score hundreds coming in at the end of 20th over, he’s just not that and the team should not try to make him that. Hardik is an unhinged character with a simple mindset and game-plan if the team is careful in how they utilize him they could reap some serious rewards because the impact he’s able to have is priceless and most importantly he fits the puzzle perfectly for the team.