File image of Hardik Pandya© AFP
Former India coach Ravi Shastri, in June, made an interesting observation regarding India allrounder Hardik Pandya. While he is now increasingly becoming the no. 1 choice for the T20I captain’s role, he is nowhere near the Test match squad. Shastri, while commenting on the subject, said that Pandya’s body is not ready for the longest format. “His body cannot cope with Test cricket. Let’s be very clear about that,” Shastri told The Week. “After the World Cup, if his body is fit enough, he should take over captaincy in white-ball cricket. There are seniors ready to be phased out and there are youngsters ready.”
However, India’s 1983 World Cup-winning captain Kapil Dev disagrees.
“Why? I respect his (Shastri’s) statement or thinking, (but) why? Nobody has had more breakdowns than Dennis Lillee. So, I don’t believe that. Human body can come back from any corner, and come back into top condition. If you say Hardik Pandya, who is such a great athlete, looks so good. If he has to work hard on his body, he has to work hard,” Kapil said during an interview with The Week.
Hardik Pandya is one of the most valuable all-rounder options for Indian cricket considering his ability to bat in the middle order and provide a pace bowling option to his side. However, questions rose about his ability to bowl his full quota following a prolonged injury spell in 2020. Pandya completed his recovery and even proved his mettle in the Indian Premier League (IPL) where he excelled with both the bat and the ball while leading Gujarat Titans to their maiden title in their debut season. The all-rounder opened up about his road to recovery and how he was determined to come back as a bowler when he eventually made his return to the national side.
“I went back and I was just spending time with myself. I had to figure out what exactly is it that I am aspiring to be. For my bowling, I told the guys in the Indian team that if I come back, I will do so as an all-rounder otherwise I won’t. And I was fine with it because that was the challenge thrown at me. To be honest, I was very happy with the fact that if I don’t play, I was ok,” Pandya was quoted as saying by Jio Cinema.
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