“I will not take that risk”: Gautam Gambhir opens up on Hardik Pandya’s spot in India’s T20 World Cup Playing XI

Dixit Bhargav
|Published 17/10/2021

Hardik Pandya’s T20 World Cup spot: The former Indian batter put forward a condition for India to include Hardik Pandya in their Playing XI.

Champions of the inaugural edition of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2007, India will kick-start their ICC T20 World Cup 2021 campaign by locking horns against Pakistan in a high-profile clash at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on October 24.

Having said that, millions of fans of the Indian cricket team will get to see the team in action as they are slated to face ODI champions England in a warm-up match in Dubai tomorrow.

Despite being a formidable T20I unit, India need to fix a couple of positions before their World Cup opener. A major conundrum for captain Virat Kohli and his teammates lies in the form and fitness of Hardik Pandya.

Gautam Gambhir opens up on Hardik Pandya’s spot in India’s T20 World Cup XI

Having put on display a lot of potential with respect to his all-round skills at one point in time, one wonders if Pandya can still be categorized as an all-rounder. Since undergoing a back surgery a couple of years ago, Pandya has no more been the bowler that he used to be.

Speaking on a show for Star Sports, former India batter Gautam Gambhir didn’t mince his words with respect to Pandya’s spot in the Indian Playing XI. For Gambhir, Pandya only makes to the XI if he bowls in India’s two warm-up matches against England and Australia.

“For me, Hardik Pandya gets into India’s playing XI only if he does proper bowling in both warmup games, not only in the nets. There is a huge difference between bowling in the nets and against quality batsmen like Babar Azam and that too in the World Cup,” Gambhir was quoted as saying by Star Sports.

In the last two years, Pandya has bowled in just six of his 35 T20s picking four wickets at an average of 33.75, an economy rate of 7.11 and a strike rate of 28.50. Gambhir, who had played a match-winning innings in India’s 2007-World Cup victory, opined that playing not a 100% Pandya will be “risky”.

“He has to bowl in the practice matches and the nets, and he has to bowl 100 percent. If you are thinking that you will come and bowl just at 115-120 kph, I will not take that risk,” Gambhir added.

About the author
Dixit Bhargav

Dixit Bhargav

Born and brought up in Pathankot, Dixit Bhargav is an engineering and sports management graduate who is currently into his fifth year as a Cricket Editor at The SportsRush. His first cricketing memory dates back to 2002 when former India captain Sourav Ganguly had waved his jersey at the historic Lord’s balcony. What followed for an 8-year-old was an instant adulation for both Ganguly and the sport. The optimist in him is waiting for the day when Punjab Kings will win their maiden Indian Premier League title. When not watching cricket, he is mostly found in a cinema hall watching a Punjabi movie.

Read more from Dixit Bhargav