Why Hardik Pandya's road to T20 World Cup might not be easy

Why Hardik Pandya's road to T20 World Cup might not be easy

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Hardik Pandya did well in the recently concluded IPL.



Hardik Pandya is constantly being hailed as the finest all-rounder in the Indian team since the Kapil Dev-era and his stock has only gone higher since his IPL triumph. But can the heroics of IPL be taken as a guarantee for success in international cricket and can Hardik deliver in the T20 world cup?

Since the conclusion of the IPL 2022, Hardik Pandya has become the talk of the town and has grabbed all the limelight. The all-rounder who was out of action since November 2021 because of injury concerns made a spectacular return and performed in a way that was not seen before. The way he delivered with both bat and ball during this season of the IPL made him an instant hit amongst fans and they demanded that the all-rounder be brought back into the Indian team at the earliest. Even many former cricketers and cricket experts are of the opinion that the all-rounder will be the key to India's fortunes in the T20 world cup that is set to take place in Australia later this year. 

Let's have a look at Hardik Pandya's T20I career so far. The all-rounder made his debut back in 2016 against Australia in the shortest format of the game under MS Dhoni's captaincy. This was the first time after Kapil Dev, that Indian cricket managed to find a fast-bowling all-rounder in the team. From a team's standpoint, Hardik Pandya gave a lot of balance to the side which allowed the team management to play an extra batter or bowler in the playing XI. 

Hardik Pandya has featured in 57 T20Is and scored 624 runs with an average of 22.29 with a strike rate of 147.52. When it comes to his bowling, Pandya has picked 42 wickets at an economy rate of 8.34 in his career so far. The all-rounder has batted at number 5 thirteen times in his career and has scored 251 runs with an average of 31.38 and a strike rate of 170.75. 

When it comes to his bowling, the right-arm fast bowler has scalped 42 wickets at an economy rate of 8.34. However, if you look at how he has done with the ball since 2019, Hardik has managed to pick 9 wickets in the last 22 games which shows that his bowling has largely been ineffective for the Indian team when it comes to taking wickets. 

Coming to his performance in IPL 2022, for the younger Pandya sibling, it has been a complete turnaround as he led debutants Gujarat Titans to a historic title victory in his very first time as captain. Fans and ex-cricketers heaped praise on the 28-year-old all-rounder for the way he led his side throughout the tournament. From not playing any competitive cricket since November 2021 to winning the IPL as captain is a dream comeback for any cricketer. 

But how was Hardik's IPL apart from captaincy? 

The Gujarat Titans skipper had a phenomenal IPL with the bat as he scored 489 runs at an average of 44.27 and a strike rate of  131.27. This is Hardik Pandya's career-best performance in the cash-rich league with the bat.  A closer look at his performance will give you more insights. Out of the 15 games that he played in IPL 2022, in 8 innings he managed to score over 30 runs. An interesting thing to note here is the fact the times that he struggled he was unable to get going. As the right-handed batter was dismissed four times for ten and under. 

It is also important to remember that Pandya was batting at numbers 3 and 4 throughout the tournament which is something that he will not be doing with the Indian team. 

Hardik Pandya the bowler is also very important from the Indian team's point of view. During the IPL, Hardik Pandya bowled 30.3 overs in the 15 games of IPL 2022 and took 8 wickets during the tournament. The stats show that he has not been as effective in his bowling apart from the way he bowled in the final of the tournament where he took three wickets.

Now, Hardik Pandya may have done exceedingly well in the IPL, but in international cricket, he is competing with players like Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar. When it comes to bowling, Shardul Thakur and Deepak Chahar have the ability to pick wickets at any stage of the game. Both players have also shown that they can do well with the bat lower down the order. 

With so much competition for a spot on the Indian team, it is not easy for Hardik Pandya even if it looks like he is the man that India needs in the T20 World Cup. Players like Dinesh Karthik and Ravindra Jadeja can also play the finisher's role and Ravindra Jadeja is one of the finest all-rounders in world cricket. 

Jadeja has done well in Hardik's absence and regularly delivered as a lower-order batter. Not to forget Venkatesh Iyer who is still in the scheme of things although he might have fallen behind as he didn't have as great of an IPL as he did last year. So, in my opinion, the Hardik Pandya with his deficiencies in the bowling department can become a problem for the Indian team during the T20 World Cup in Australia. Yes, he has the experience of winning an IPL title and he can finish games for the country. But he is competing against a strong set of players who can bring the same kind of things to the table when it comes to the IPL. 

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