Former India cricketer Ashish Nehra feels Hardik Pandya can make it to any white-ball team solely as a batter. The Indian all-rounder hasn’t been able to bowl consistently across all formats since his back surgery. However, in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 championship, Hardik contributed well with both the bat and the ball. He led the Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 in their debut season.
The all-rounder’s performance in the league earned him a comeback to the Indian limited-overs squad. However, there is still some doubt over his bowling fitness and whether he could bowl his full quota of overs. Former India cricketer Ashish Nehra, who has Hardik Pandya’s coach at the Gujarat Titans feels that Hardik’s bowling is a bonus.
During an interaction, the former pacer expressed that Hardik has the ability to play solely as a batter in any white-ball team. The all-rounder has been rested for the upcoming ODI series against West Indies. Ashish Nehra stated that it is a good decision given Hardik Pandya’s battle with injuries in his career. He said as quoted by Telegraph,
“Even Hardik won’t be able to answer that since you can plan but things don’t always fall into place. But so far so good. Hardik can be in any white ball team solely as a batter. On top of that, if he bowls it will be a bonus. But you can’t keep him as your fifth bowler in T20 or 50 overs. He can only be your sixth bowler.”
You are only going to struggle when you look at Hardik Pandya as your fifth bowler: Ashish Nehra
Former India cricketer Ashish Nehra expressed that India should use Hardik Pandya as the sixth bowling option in the team. He reasoned that even if the all-rounder bowls around five or six overs in ODIs, it will be a bonus for the team.
“He can bowl 10 overs also in 50-over cricket. But even if he gives 5-6 overs, it’s a huge bonus. Yesterday (Tuesday, 1st ODI) you had four bowlers besides Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik. You are only going to struggle when you look at Hardik as your fifth bowler,” said Ashish Nehra.
Hardik Pandya bowled only four overs in the first ODI, as England couldn’t last more than 26 overs. They were bowled out for 110 runs, in the first innings. Hardik did not get an opportunity with the bat, as India chased down the target with ten wickets to spare. The second match of the series is all set to take place on Thursday, July 14 at the Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.