Amidst the continuing debate surrounding Hardik Pandya’s inclusion in the Indian cricket squad for the T20 World Cup, former Indian pacer S. Sreesanth emerged as a vocal supporter of Pandya’s capabilities on the field. Sreesanth, renowned for his outswing bowling post Kapil Dev era, endorsed Pandya’s role in the team while speaking on Star Sports, insisting that Pandya’s pairing with Virat Kohli will immensely strengthen India’s chase of challenging totals. This support comes despite Hardik Pandya’s compromised form, which had become a point of contention among critics and fans alike.

The selection of Pandya in the 15-member squad surprised many, given his performance lapse during the year, most notably in the Indian Premier League (IPL). Moreover, his appointment as the vice-captain for the prestigious ICC event hosted in the USA and the West Indies further fueled debates.

Nonetheless, Hardik’s track record and his game-changing potential with both bat and ball managed to convince selectors. Pandya’s all-round abilities can swiftly alter the course of a match, a quality that is seminal for high-stakes tournaments like the World Cup.

Discussing his recent performances, Sreesanth highlighted Pandya’s leadership in winning a series for India, stating, “The way he’s been batting and the way he’s been bowling, for the country, he even led the country in one series and we won.” Despite not being a constant captain, Pandya’s strategic influence on the team’s aura and atmosphere was praised.

Pandya’s last outing for India was during an ODI World Cup fixture against Bangladesh in October 2023. Following an ankle injury, he made a timely recovery and was ushered in as Mumbai Indians’ captain, replacing Rohit Sharma. This strategic move attracted wide scrutiny and debate among enthusiasts and experts of the cricketing world.

Pandya’s bowling prowess, particularly the flexibility to handle both the new and old ball, was also commended by Sreesanth. He stressed the significance of this skill against teams like Pakistan, indicating that the upcoming World Cup presents an opportunity for Hardik to regain form and remind everyone of his abilities.

Echoing Sreesanth’s sentiments, former Australian all-rounder Tom Moody also endorsed Pandya, stressing that the abilities of this genuine all-rounder, capable of batting in the top six and delivering four overs, are scarce in India. Moody emphasized Pandya’s standout presence which overarches domestic cricket performances and resonates with a standard apt for international cricket.

The nod of approval from the chief selector Ajit Agarkar, who accorded Pandya a “longer rope” for recovery and form, reflects his value as a “precious commodity” in Indian cricket. Alongside Pandya, Moody hailed the selection of Shivam Dube, advocating for regular training to ensure his match-readiness, thereby labeling his pick as a “smart move”.

Dube’s consistent training regimen was expected to bolster his readiness for bowling in the upcoming matches, even if his role did not mandate bowling in every game. This pre-emptive conditioning was reasoned to be pivotal for the World Cup tournament.

The support from cricketing veterans like Sreesanth and Moody sheds light not only on Pandya’s skills but also on the holistic approach to team composition and readiness. As India gears up for the T20 World Cup, the blend of experience and emerging talent promises a dynamic tournament ahead.

To stay current with the latest updates on IPL 2024 and other cricket news, fans and followers are encouraged to visit NDTV Sports online, follow their social media platforms, or download their mobile application.

By IPL Agent

💲Daily Check-In Free Bonus💲 💵 Sign Up & Login everyday to get free cash!💵 👉