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'Double trouble' for Hardik Pandya ahead of T20 World Cup!

30 May, 2024 17:30 IST|Sakshi Post

New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) After a few rough years due to back injury needing surgery and inconsistent form, 2022 finally became the year when Hardik Pandya was back as India's go-to all-rounder, especially in the T20I format. But in the run-up to 2024 Men's T20 World Cup, Pandya is under pressure – on and off the field.

But right now, as India prepare for the showpiece event in New York, all eyes will undoubtedly be on Pandya, who had a torrid time in IPL 2024 as an all-rounder and captain for Mumbai Indians, who finished at the bottom of the ten-team points table.

He was also subject to unprecedented and constant boos and jeers from the crowd in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Hyderabad, with fans angry over him for making a switch from Gujarat Titans to Mumbai Indians, where he replaced five-time championship winning skipper Rohit Sharma as the side’s captain.

Moreover, rumours of the end of his relationship with wife Natasa Stankovic have added more fuel to the scrutiny on Pandya. Pandya is everything India envisaged since he came into limelight via his IPL 2015 exploits for Mumbai Indians– a world-class seam-bowling allrounder who packs a punch with the bat in both skillsets, especially at the international level.

Since coming into the Indian team in 2016, Pandya excelled in his all-round roles in all formats, till a back injury in the 2018 Asia Cup and a surgery post the 2019 World Cup stopped him from being back at his absolute best, resulting in him playing only as a batter in the 2021 T20 World Cup, where India didn’t even enter the semifinals.

But everything changed for the good for Pandya in 2022 – a move to new IPL franchise Gujarat Titans, that too as their captain, helped Hardik prove his fitness as an all-rounder in IPL - making 487 runs with the bat and taking eight wickets, including 3/17 in the title clash, as the side won the trophy in its first year.

That was enough to earn him a recall for T20Is against South Africa in June and from there, he became an inseparable part of the Indian team yet again. He even got to captain India in T20Is against Ireland and hit his first T20I fifty as well as pick four wickets in a stellar spell against England at Southampton.

In the 2022 Men’s Asia Cup league match against Pakistan in Dubai, Pandya took 3-25, hit an unbeaten 33, including the winning six off left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz in the final over of a tense chase of 148 to beat Pakistan as India’s campaign was off to a winning start.

In the T20 World Cup, Pandya was the calming figure at the other end when he and Virat Kohli took India from 31/4 to acing the chase against Pakistan at Melbourne. He would also hit a fifty in the semi-final against England, and be one of the shining lights for India in the campaign.

He would be India’s captain in T20Is till an ankle injury while saving on his follow through in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup clash against Bangladesh at Pune ruled him out of action. IPL 2024 saw Hardik far from his best as an all-rounder – amassing 216 runs at a strike rate of 143 and picking 11 wickets at an economy of 10.75.

The batting didn’t have the calmness and punch associated with him and in his power-hitting, while the bowling was bereft of zip and penetration, especially as a middle-overs enforcer.

With India playing only one warm-up match against Bangladesh on June 1, Pandya needs to be free from clutter in his mind to execute his skills to the best-possible extent in the World Cup, like he did in 2022.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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