Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has asked the Indian team to manage Hardik Pandya properly until the T20 World Cup. As per the former all-rounder, the team management should not take a risk of playing Hardik Pandya in the 50-over format until the T20 World Cup later this year.
Hardik Pandya has returned to the Indian team after a lengthy injury layoff courtesy of an injury after the previous T20 World Cup. He has been selected for the upcoming T20I series against South Africa on the back of a successful title-winning IPL campaign with Gujarat Titans.
Hardik Pandya does the job for two players: Ravi Shastri
The former India all-rounder was speaking on the Star Sports show Game Plan where he was asked if Hardik walks back into a full-strength India squad right now.
“He will walk back into that squad for me either as a batter or as an all-rounder. I don’t think he is that badly injured where he cannot bowl you two overs. He has had ample rest and he will continue to have ample rest because that’s the only format he should play going into the World Cup. They shouldn’t take the risk of making him play ODI cricket,” Ravi Shastri responded.
The former India coach also talked about Hardik Pandya‘s three-dimensional prowess and if he can bat based on his batting form alone.
“Massive, he does the job for two players. A Hardik Pandya playing just as a batter would mean he has to bat in the top four or five but Hardik Pandya playing as an all-rounder, he can bat at five, six or four and still bowl those two-three overs for you,” further added Ravi Shastri.
On asked how crucial an all-rounder Hardik Pandya is for Team India, Shastri emphasised on Pandya’s ability to provide the balance.
“Massive massive difference, it changes the whole balance of the side in favour of India. India is a much stronger side with Hardik doing both. Hardik is a much better cricketer when he does both. So you want to see him fit by the World Cup, good signs in the IPL,” Ravi Shastri concluded.