Former Indian cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra has admitted that it is obvious to question Hardik Pandya’s place in India’s playing XI since he is yet to start bowling in the ongoing ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, but felt unfair to judge his performance on the basis of few games.
He further admitted that Pandya hasn’t made an impact with the bat this year and Team India looks completely out of balance when the all-rounder is not bowling, but replacing him with Ishan Kishan isn’t a solution, as according to him, it doesn’t really make sense.
The commentator also feels India should continue with Hardik for their next game against New Zealand on October 31 in the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2021.
Notably, the all-rounder was recently spotted bowling during India’s training session and is expected to bowl at least 2 overs against New Zealand.
Chopra said on his YouTube channel: “This narrative is bound to continue. When you look at Hardik Pandya and see he is not bowling you are bound to feel whether he actually fits into the team. The question isn’t wrong. In 2021 he hasn’t scored many runs and also missed a few games as well. But I will consider his performance against Pakistan.”
He further explained, “How can you judge a class player like Hardik based on just eight balls? But it’s a fact that he hasn’t made an impact with the bat this year. And when he is not bowling, India completely goes out of balance because you only have five bowling options then. But Ishan in place of Hardik? No. Because if he does replace Hardik, he will have to open for India alongside Rohit. Then Rahul at No.4, Pant at No.5, and Suryakumar at No.6? Does it really make sense?”
Chopra concluded, “If one defeat leads to such a big change then it only shows that we do not believe our selection process. Ishan’s inclusion will completely change India’s selection philosophy. India can although make changes in their bowling attack. I feel India should continue with Hardik for the New Zealand game and Ishan will have to wait for his opportunity.”