‘Hardik Pandya not among top 10 all-rounders in any format of the game’: Irfan Pathan points at ICC rankings

‘Hardik Pandya not among top 10 all-rounders in any format of the game’: Irfan Pathan points at ICC rankings

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Four years ago when Hardik Pandya first burst onto the scenes in a T20I in Australia, it seemed India’s long wait for a genuine seam-bowling all-rounder had finally ended. From a slam-bang T20 cricketer, Pandya gradually turned into an indispensible part of India’s limited overs set-up and also made his presence felt in Test cricket. But when players like Ben Stokes, Jason Holder are winning matches for their teams with their all-round performances, former India cricketer Irfan Pathan believes Pandya’s sparks of brilliance is not enough.

Irfan, who highlighted the importance of having a match-winning all-rounder like Ben Stokes in the Indian side, went on to back his claims by saying that Pandya still has a long way to go from being termed a match-winner.

“Ben Stokes has become the number one all-rounder in the world by winning matches for England. What I wish for Team India is to have an all-rounder who wins games for India,” Irfan Pathan told cricket.com

Irfan said Pandya has the potential but currently he is not among the top-ranked all-rounders in any format. The only Indian who features in both Test and ODI list of top all-rounders in the ICC rankings is Ravindra Jadeja.

“Unfortunately, Hardik Pandya is not there in the top 10 (on the rankings) in any format of the game. He has the potential; there is no doubt about it. But what I’m saying is that if we have an all-rounder with that kind of calibre who wins matches, Indian cricket will be invincible. If you compare man-to-man, we are much better than any other cricket team in the world. You just need that one piece to make everything come together and that one piece as an all-rounder,” Irfan added.

Pandya, who became a father recently, has had his fair shares of injuries in his short international career so far. After being out of action for a while because of a back injury in a match against Pakistan in the UAE during Asia Cup 2018, the all-rounder came back in the Australia and New Zealand tours next year. But unfortunately, he injured himself again in a T20I against South Africa in Bengaluru in September last year.

The all-rounder since then has been out of action for India. He did prove his fitness in the Dy Patil T20 cup in February-March this year and now will be eagerly waiting to announce his arrival in the IPL 2020, which is now slated to take place in September-October in the UAE.

Pandya’s role in the Indian side is pivotal because of his big-hitting as a batsman and his street-smartness as a bowler. India have always struggled to find a proper seam-bowling all-rounder since the retirement of Kapil Dev. Irfan, who himself played the role for some time with decent amount of success, said he was far from Kapil’s standards.

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