Hardik Pandya was once a rising Test all-rounder. Remember how he was drafted into India’s Test side on 2018 South Africa tour? He almost got a hundred in the first Test match in Centurion. Later that year on England tour, he grabbed a five for in fourth Test match. But things started to fall apart for him once he had a back surgery. Since then he hasn’t bowled for India and even didn’t play a single match against England at home despite being in the squad.
But Hardik’s loss can be Shardul Thakur‘s gain. Certainly the Mumbaikar can make the most of this opportunity if he is given more exposure, felt his childhood coach Dinesh Lad. Speaking to Sportskeeda, he said: “As a coach, I would want Shardul to be given preference in the WTC final based on how he has been performing of late. He can swing both the ball and bat, and it will be a plus point for India to let Shardul fill that all-rounder’s role. But again, everything depends on the team management and coaches.”
“He will definitely get preference in the long run because India are currently lacking in all-rounders. Hardik Pandya was playing as an all-rounder but now he is not able to bowl because of injury. Teams need fast-bowling all-rounders and there is only Shardul Thakur in the queue. But in order to perform well, he needs to get a long run of matches.”
“They have some 10-12 days window before the first match, so he will get ample time to practice and get used to the conditions. And he recently played against England, so I don’t think he will have any problem. I have just one funda, I have always told him to make the batsman play without thinking about movement, because the batter will make a mistake but in order to make that happen, he needs to be enticed to play."
“He has the ability and hence reached that level, so he just needs to hold a particular line and length to get wickets. He has also learnt to handle pressure, like how we saw him bat in pressure situation and help India win in Brisbane,” he further added.