'Hardik is bowling 4 overs now, but for how long we don't know': Former India captain expresses concerns over Pandya
Despite Hardik Pandya's success in the IPL, former India captain Mohammad Azharuddin has raised questions over his fitness and consistency.
India's star all-rounder Hardik Pandya made an emphatic return to top-flight cricket in IPL 2022. Not only did he captain Gujarat Titans to their maiden IPL title in debut season, but Pandya's return to form was heart-warming to see, especially for the Indian cricket team fans. More importantly, the fact that he bowled at full steam clocking at over 140kph emerged as the biggest positive. In a World Cup year, if Pandya can perform at full tilt for India, he can once again be a real game changer.
However, despite Pandya's success in the IPL, a former India captain has raised questions over his fitness and consistency. This was the best the world saw Pandya performing since undergoing a back surgery in 2019, and while everything so far has been Hunky-Dorey so far, Mohammad Azharuddin is not quite certain about Pandya sustaining the same momentum.
"He has the ability, he has done well for the Indian team, but because of the injuries, he was not in the team consistently. He has come back now; he is bowling his four overs. How long he will bowl we really don't know. But we definitely want him to bowl since he is an all-rounder," Khaleej Times quoted Azharuddin as saying.
In GT's first match of the season, Pandya bowled in excess of 140 kmph which really excited fans. However, there was a brief period during the fag end of the tournament where Pandya did not bowl, leading to speculations. But all uncertainties were put to rest when Pandya bowled a match-winning spell in the final against Rajasthan Royals, picking 3/17 and was named Player of the match. Pandya finished the season with 487 runs including four fifties and eight wickets, but Azharuddin reckons there is still room for consistency in Pandya's performance.
"In the IPL final (against Rajasthan Royals), he completely changed the game, three wickets in four overs, then he scored 34 quick runs. He is a good talent, just needs that consistency," mentioned Azhar.