Team India, after a hectic Indian Premier League (IPL) schedule, is set to begin an international season with a five-match T20I series against South Africa; the home series will be played between June 9 to June 19, in Delhi, Cuttak, Vizag, Rajkot, and Bengaluru.
Although, regulars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja are rested by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), for the series.
Selectors Committee has recently announced the squad comprising youngsters and experienced players, for the 5-games. Among these, on basis of their first-rate performances in the IPL 2022, Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik have received their maiden India call-ups.
Talking about Hardik Pandya mainly, the Baroda cricketer has had a prime IPL season so far and the 28-year-old is back in the Indian team after a period. He played his last international game against Namibia, in the ICC T20 World Cup, back in November 2021.
3 reasons why Hardik Pandya should bat at No. 4 against South Africa
1. A stunning IPL season
Pandya this year, with Gujarat Titans (GT), has had a stunning season so far. The all-rounder batted at the number four position throughout the tournament and emerged as the fourth-highest run-scorer in the tournament.
He smashed 487 runs in 15 innings, at a strike rate of 131.26, with four half-centuries. With the ball, Pandya has seen bowling well, continuously. He picked eight wickets in 10 innings, at a reasonable economy of 7.27.
Besides, there are other two contenders for the number 4 place including, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. But for this series at least, Hardik Pandya seems to be a perfect choice.
2. His experience apart from the other Indian regulars
In this South Africa series particularly, regulars like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, and Ravindra Jadeja are not going to be there. So, Pandya as a player obviously, can add so much potential to the Indian lineup.
Moreover, Pandya has played 54 T20 internationals for India. In which, he has scored 553 runs in 36 innings, with the bat, at a strike rate of 146.29. While bowling, the right-arm medium-fast pacer has picked 42 wickets in 47 innings, at an economy of 8.23.
Besides, Hardik Pandya can also help out KL Rahul on the field with his learnings from the IPL, this year.
3. The Batting Sensation
In the IPL 2022 especially, Hardik Pandya has been incredible with the bat. He has scored runs with a strike rate of 131.26, with 49 boundaries and 12 sixes.
The Titans skipper certainly can do much better, as a player, if he plays alongside a destructive lower middle-order lineup including, Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik (if he plays). Apart from being an excellent bowling option, the right-arm batter can add up a lot to the batting unit.
Written By Prachi Pisal