"Doesn't look like part time bowler... can win you matches": Hardik Pandya earns praise from former India pacer

Jun 14, 2024

By Parv Anand
New Delhi [India], June 14 : Former pacer Sreesanth has some special praise in store for India T20 World Cup team vice captain Hardik Pandya, who continued to leave his mark in the USA with magical spells with the ball.
Hardik has left the fans spellbound with his sheer pace on the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium surface.
In three matches, Hardik has left the opposition batters bamboozled. He has seven wickets under his belt at a mere economy of 5.41.
Impressed by Hardik's eye-catching spells, Sreesanth feels the 30-year-old doesn't look like a part-time bowler. He labeled him as a player who can bowl crucial overs and pick game-changing wickets just like Australia's Marcus Stoinis.
"The way Hardik is bowling, he doesn't look like a part-time bowler. He can pick the new ball, and he can bowl those cutters. I think he is doing what Stoinis is doing for the Australia team, getting those crucial wickets and bowling those crucial overs. I think it is very important for an all-rounder," Sreesanth, who features as an expert on Caught and Bold on Disney+ Hotstar, said while speaking exclusively to ANI.
Hardik was on the receiving end of a severe backlash after he replaced Rohit Sharma as the captain of five-time champions, Mumbai Indians in the IPL 2024.
Some sections of fans trolled Pandya on social media, and he even got criticised for his on-field decisions as a captain by ex-cricketers. But on the global stage, Hardik has found his rhythm and is showing off his swagger with his searing bouncers.
Sreesanth lavished praise on Pandya and stated that his performance keeps getting better as the stakes get higher. Apart from his bolwing, Sreesanth believes Pandya is capable of winning matches with his batting and fielding.
"When you play for the Mumbai Indians, then only Mumbai was supporting him, and when he plays for India, the whole country supports him. With all due respect to fans, the energy that he brings makes us love him even more. There is no comparison to Hardik Pandya. That person can win you matches with fielding, he can win you matches with bowling and he can win you matches with batting. His performance gets better when the match is good. He keeps the players together. So that is a great quality. The IPL is gone, and now India is playing. I will just say the IPL was practice match, and this is to win the World Cup," he added.
In the group stage, India named a strong playing XI, yet, some of the top stars are still serving time on the bench.
Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav are some of the top stars who are raring for an opportunity to fall in their stride.
While talking about India's bench strength, Sreesanth "absolutely" believes India can lift the T20 World Cup for the first time since the inaugural edition in 2007.
"Absolutely, if we talk about Virat and Rohit, what a great brotherhood, and one can learn a lot of things from them. They have a lot of experience, they can win matches from any position. We have Rishabh Pant. What a story, not just for cricket but even for life. He is such an inspirational guy. It is not just for the sake of story-making; he is doing it again and again. In the game against Pakistan, he took a diving catch towards his right in Arshdeep's over. His bowling literally sealed the game for us," Sreesanth said.
"We have so much talent if you look at Arshdeep Singh, Bumrah with the way he is bowling, Hardik Pandya, and even Chahal, one of the best bowlers, sitting out. Sanju and even Kuldeep are missing out on games. We have such great bench strength," he concluded.
After securing a spot in the Super 8, India will play their final group stage game against Canada in Florida on Saturday.