Hardik Pandya: The Indian all-rounder was nowhere to be seen in Baroda’s first Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match against Uttarakhand.
An alleged abusive argument between captain Krunal Pandya and all-rounder Deepak Hooda wasn’t the best of ways for Baroda to start their Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021 campaign. Having said that, a 5-run victory in their opening match against Uttarakhand would have set the mood right in their dugout.
After Uttarakhand captain Iqbal Abdulla won the toss and invited the hosts in to bat at the Reliance Stadium, Baroda scored 168/7 in 20 overs on the back of Pandya’s third T20 half-century. Playing at No. 4 for his state side, the left-hand batsman top-scored with 76 (42) which comprised of five fours and as many sixes.
Despite a 79-run partnership for the sixth wicket between Dikshanshu Negi (77*) and Kunal Chandela (48), Uttarakhand fell short by six runs. In what was an all-round performance from the home captain, Pandya was the pick of Baroda’s bowlers with bowling figures of 4-0-33-2.
Why is Hardik Pandya not playing SMAT 2021?
Hardik Pandya, who has returned to India after a successful white-ball tour of Australia, missing a T20 match for Baroda despite not playing for India had it in it to be cause of concern for his fans.
It is worth mentioning that Pandya won’t be taking part in the ongoing 12th season of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy in a bid to manage his workload. Coming on the back of a back surgery, the 27-year old player had played Indian Premier League 2020 and against Australia without much gap between them.
New year, same hustle 🔥 pic.twitter.com/9ZM6RtWHUS
— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) January 7, 2021
Since his return to competitive cricket, Pandya has been cautiously handled by both Mumbai Indians and India. It is due to the same reason that he didn’t bowl in IPL 2020 and bowled a total of four overs across six-white ball matches in Australia.
Hardik Pandya, who had last played a T20 for Baroda almost half-a-decade ago, has scored 768 runs in 29 T20s for his state at an average ans strike rate of 36.57 and 120.75 respectively.