The injury to Hardik Pandya is, by far, the sole setback India has encountered in the ongoing World Cup 2023. India secured a seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh on Thursday, maintaining their unbeaten streak with a fourth consecutive win. However, they lost their key all-rounder due to an injury.
Pandya suffered an ankle twist while utilizing his right leg during his follow-through. He had to leave the field, and Virat Kohli had to complete the remaining three deliveries of his first over. Consequently, Hardik Pandya has been officially ruled out of India’s upcoming match against New Zealand. He is expected to rejoin the team directly in Lucknow, where India is set to face England on October 29.
While the likelihood of Pandya being sidelined for the entire World Cup 2023 is minimal, it’s worth considering five potential replacements for the star all-rounder in India’s World Cup 2023 squad.
The BCCI released an official statement for Hardik Pandya:
“He will be heading to Bengaluru where he has been asked to report to the NCA. The medical team assessed his ankle scan report and it looks he will be fine by taking an injection. The BCCI consulted a specialist doctor in England and they too were of the similar opinion. He will be missing the next game“
Let’s see 5 players who can replace Hardik Pandya
1. Washington Sundar: Washington Sundar was a strong candidate for inclusion in the squad leading up to the World Cup. Nevertheless, Ravichandran Ashwin edged past him to secure the position. Sundar had recently achieved an Asian Games gold medal with the Indian men’s cricket team. This 24-year-old player is a valuable contributor with both his batting skills and his proficiency as an off-spin bowler.
2. Axar Patel: The all-rounder from Gujarat was initially included in the initial India squad for the 2023 World Cup. However, a hamstring injury he sustained during the Asia Cup 2023 hindered his chances, as he couldn’t recuperate in time for the World Cup. His batting skills have seen significant growth, and his left-arm spin bowling is equally formidable.
3. Shivam Dube: One of the three most similar replacements that come to mind for Hardik Pandya. This fast-bowling all-rounder recently returned to the Indian team during the Ireland T20I series. He was also a part of the Indian squad that secured a gold medal at the Asian Games 2023 in China. Dube has shown significant development under MS Dhoni’s mentorship and has the capability to contribute with a few overs.
4. Venkatesh Iyer: At present, the all-rounder from Madhya Pradesh is excelling in both batting and bowling. If India intends to substitute Hardik with a seam-bowling all-rounder, he could be the top choice. During Hardik’s absence from Team India due to his serious back injury, Venkatesh Iyer was being evaluated as a potential long-term replacement.
5. Vijay Sankar: Vijay Shankar, who gained fame as the ‘3D player’ for India during the 2019 World Cup, is the second perfectly identical replacement for Hardik Pandya. This medium-paced bowler was among the batters who managed to score more than 300 runs for Gujarat Titans in the IPL 2023. Currently, he is representing Tamil Nadu in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he opened his campaign with a 42-run innings off 35 balls while batting at the number three position.