India maintained good performance even in Hardik Pandya‘s absence, who sustained an injury during his first over in the 2023 World Cup game against Bangladesh. He missed the remainder of that game, which India won convincingly, as well as their subsequent victory over New Zealand.
Initial reports indicated he would be fit to play against England on Sunday, October 29 in Lucknow. However, recent updates suggest that he will be rested as a precaution. India is understandably cautious about their star all-rounder’s fitness and doesn’t want to take any risks.
Rohit Sharma and his team haven’t felt the impact of Hardik’s absence yet, but they might wish they had him when they face England. Here are three big reasons why India will really miss Hardik Pandya when they play against England in the 2023 World Cup:
#1 The upcoming match against England is vital for India in the 2023 World Cup
India has convincingly won all their matches so far, securing five consecutive victories. However, they can’t become overconfident and recognize that their upcoming game against England is one of the most crucial remaining matches in the 2023 World Cup.
Following England, India will face Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands, and winning at least four points from those games should secure their qualification well ahead of the last couple of matches.
Even though England currently ranks ninth and hasn’t been at its best, they remain a formidable team on a good day. As the defending champions, they won’t go down without a fight. India will require their best lineup to succeed, which undoubtedly includes Hardik, their vice-captain.
#2 In Lucknow, there isn’t a lot of trust in Suryakumar Yadav’s performance
It might be a bit harsh to say this because Suryakumar Yadav had bad luck and got out in his first World Cup game. But the truth is, in general, he hasn’t performed well in one-day cricket.
Even though he showed some improvement right before the World Cup, there’s still a question about whether he can be counted on as the sixth batter in the team.
Suryakumar is excellent at hitting the ball in T20 matches, whether it’s fast or spin bowling. Unfortunately, in 50-over games, he has struggled against both types of bowling, and there’s not much proof to suggest he will do well in Lucknow.
The stadium in Lucknow has conditions that help the ball swing, and spin bowlers can be effective there. Even though England doesn’t have left-arm spinners, they still have bowlers who can make it tough for Suryakumar.
Hardik Pandya would have been a dependable choice at No. 6, but since he’s not available, there’s some uncertainty about whether Suryakumar can fill that role.
#3 In the absence of Hardik Pandya, India may struggle to include an extra spinner
Hardik Pandya’s absence has a significant impact. Without a fast-bowling all-rounder like him, India can only afford to have five specialist bowlers, potentially limiting their ability to include an extra spinner.
In their previous match against Australia, India selected Ravichandran Ashwin and had planned to do the same in Lucknow.
England has struggled against spin, and Ashwin, an off-spinner, could have been effective against their left-handed batsmen. However, choosing Ashwin would mean going with only two fast bowlers due to Hardik’s absence.
While Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, and Jasprit Bumrah are top-tier bowlers who can perform well on various surfaces, India might have been better off with Hardik, especially given the pitch conditions in Lucknow.