India have been searching for a fast-bowling all-rounder for a long time. Since the retirement of Kapil Dev, India haven’t been able to produce a quality fast-bowling all-rounder. They have tried with several players like Irfan Pathan, JP Yadav, Shivam Dube, Stuart Binny, Vijay Shankar or Rishi Dhawan. Only Pathan has been able to produce the goods for India in the past but he couldn’t sustain the performances for a long time.
Top-tier teams like Australia, South Africa, and England have always had a fast-bowling all-rounder in their team. In came Hardik Pandya for India. He has been a consistent performer for India in all the formats with his power batting and bowling. India have reaped the benefits as they have become a difficult side to beat due to their balance in the team.
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Pandya has faced some difficulties recently with his back. He has missed a considerable amount of action due to the injury and hasn’t been able to bowl in recent months. But former Australian international Tom Moody believes Team India have to continue to back the 25-year-old as he give the side ‘the best balance’.
“If you’re are planning towards the future, and the best balance for an Indian ODI side, a fit Hardik Pandya is an absolute no-brainer in the top 6 because he gives you what they desperately need – a capable batsman in the top six that can bowl. So I think it’s the right decision to pick up on the basis that one, he is carrying form into the series, and two, he is the lock-in that position so why not continue to develop his batting and when he can bowl – we don’t know whether he’s going to bowl 2-3 overs in their series in each game, you know that you’ve got the perfect player in an area where if you’ve got any weakness in that Indian team it’s in that position so I will be persevering with. You need to invest time in Hardik Pandya in my view.” Moody told ESPNCricinfo.
Pandya looked in good touch during the 13th season of the Indian Premier League where he won the title with Mumbai Indians. He has also started the Australia series on a good note as he hit a fifty for India in the first ODI.