Ravi Shastri shared his opinion on Hardik Pandya’s future with Team India.© Twitter
When Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 kicks off, one player who will have the spotlight on him is Hardik Pandya. The younger Pandya brother is set to play the role of captain for the first time this season, when he leads new IPL franchise Gujarat Titans (GT). But the focus will also be on whether he will bowl or not. While originally an all-rounder, fitness issues have seen him reduced to playing majorly as just a batter over the last few years.
Former India head coach Ravi Shastri is of the opinion that if he doesn’t add bowling to his game again, he may not make it back to the Indian T20 squad.
“In the top five, there’s a lot of muscle there. If anyone’s occupying the position Nos. 5, 6 onwards, he’ll have to bring that extra department to the game. That is why from Hardik’s point of view, from India’s point of view, from the Gujarat team’s point of view, it’s extremely important that he strings those two or three overs together because if he does and bowls with even limited success, he becomes an automatic choice in the Indian team,” Shastri told ESPNcricinfo.
He said that the No.6 position for India is now fixed for an all-rounder.
“I think the all-rounder’s position at No. 6 for sure. Ideally someone in the top-five who can bowl two or three overs. That takes the pressure off the captain. It gives him then six and a half bowlers from whom he can choose. That will be one area I’ll be looking at very closely. And of course the fast bowling and fielding. I’m not really worried about the batting. Batting is there,” he said.
Gujarat Titans will kick off their campaign on Monday against fellow newcomers Lucknow Super Giants.
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