Aakash Chopra feels that Team India is short of a fast-bowling all-rounder in the ongoing T20 World Cup. With uncertainty over Hardik Pandya’s bowling fitness, India include Shardul Thakur in the squad a few days before the tournament commenced. However, the former India opener said that Shardul Thakur is not the ideal replacement for Hardik in the playing XI as the CSK player has not played any big knock with the bat in the shortest format.
“Shardul Thakur cannot play in place of Hardik Pandya. Where has he [Shardul] scored runs in T20s? For whom? He has not played a knock like that for CSK as well and let’s be honest, we don’t have an all-rounder," Aakash Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
Hardik usually bats at the no 6 spot and have performed well as the finisher. Chopra claims that the CSK player can’t bat at the no 6 and 7 position where Hardik bats and provide balance to the batting unit.
“Shardul cannot bat at No.6 and No.7 is also too high for him if you keep Jaddu at No.6. We have only seen his run-scoring form in Test cricket. So Hardik is certain to play."
“It is not about form over reputation, it is just about what you have. So the expectation is, fingers crossed, that Hardik Pandya’s bat fires and makes a lot of noise, but you don’t have an option," Chopra added.
The former cricketer turned commentator said that Shardul’s actual competition in the playing XI is with Bhuvneshwar and not Hardik. However, Chopra made his choice between Shardul and Bhuvneshwar for a place against Pakistan on Sunday.
“I want to play Shardul but instead of Bhuvi. That’s the competition that they are having, it is actually not a competition between Shardul and Hardik at all. The balance will be off if you drop Hardik and send everyone a slot up the order. You will get a sixth bowling option but the batting will shrink suddenly," he said.