Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Hardik stands 'head and shoulders above' anyone as fast-bowling all-rounder in T20 WC: Tom Moody

PUNJAB NEWS LINE | May 03, 2024 02:15 PM

NEW DELHI: Tom Moody, the former Australia men’s all-rounder, believes Hardik Pandya currently stands head and shoulders above other contenders for the fast-bowling all-rounder slot in the Indian team going to participate in the Men’s T20 World Cup next month.

Pandya's inclusion, as the deputy to skipper Rohit Sharma in the 15-member India squad came as a surprise to many, considering he has been unable to leave a huge impact with bat and ball while captaining Mumbai Indians in IPL 2024.

But with many players in India not having the skillsets he has; Pandya is now on the verge of playing his fourth T20 World Cup for India when they open their campaign against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York on June 5.

"Name me three other people who can do what Hardik Pandya is doing. That's the bottom line. That skill of being a genuine all-rounder who can bat in your top six and potentially bowl four overs for you is very rare in India at the moment. Yes, there are a few others that play domestic cricket and are okay, but not in international cricket, which is a different standard.

"So I think he stands head and shoulders above anyone who is competing for that particular role. I think Ajit Agarkar has recognised that that is the case and we have to give him a longer rope with regards to his recovery, with regards to his form, and everything else, because he is a very precious commodity in this country," said Moody to Star Sports.

S Sreesanth, the former India fast-bowler and a member of the 2007 T20 World Cup winning side, also backed Pandya to come good in the mega event. "We have seen what he can do on the field minus this year's IPL. 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.”

"It was asked to Rohit about that and he said sometimes I'm the captain and sometimes I'm not. But that doesn't change the team’s aura and atmosphere. So, it's one good thing that Hardik Pandya comes in and bats, especially when he's chasing and Virat is on the other side, I think the combination they create is great.

"And Hardik can take the new ball or the old ball, especially against Pakistan, but it's not only against Pakistan, we are going to play a lot of different teams, so it's an opportunity for Hardik to forget what he's done in this IPL and maybe, you never know, there are a few matches left and he may just come up."

Moody also felt selecting Shivam Dube for the World Cup is a smart move from the Indian team, and wishes for him to bowl more frequently in his training session during his IPL 2024 campaign for the Chennai Super Kings. Dube bowled an over against Punjab Kings and had figures of 1-14.

"I'd be incredibly surprised if Dubey hasn't been doing his bowling workloads, which is basically, not bowling out in the middle in competition but bowling at practice and bowling in pre-games, getting his number of balls up per week to make sure that his body is conditioned to bowling.

"Even though he might not have to bowl in match situation, but he's got the bowling, so its not like he hasn’t bowled for two months and then suddenly called upon to bowl in a World Cup tournament. So, he'll be up and ready physically for the opportunity. So, to me, Shivam Dubey is a smart pick, he concluded.


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