'Sometimes I want to see him with the new ball': Gavaskar predicts 28-year-old star as India's 'game changer' in T20 WC

Published on Jun 12, 2022 07:03 AM IST

The return of 28-year-old star in the Indian set-up has already drawn immense praise and Gavaskar has already hailed the youngster as a "game changer" for the Men in Blue not just in the tournament but also in the all T20I matches.

Sunil Gavaskar; Indian team
Sunil Gavaskar; Indian team

The T20 World Cup is still three and a half months away and India still have a few more series to play before they lock in on their final 15 for the big event in Australia this October, but the return of 28-year-old star in the Indian set-up has already drawn immense praise and former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has already hailed the youngster as a "game-changer" for the Men in Blue not just in the tournament but also in the all T20I matches.

Gavaskar ws full of praise for Hardik Pandya, who recently capped off an impressive season in IPL 2022, both as an all-rounder and as a captain. And his superb all-round ability was rewarded with a place in the Indian team for the first time since the 2021 T20 World Cup.

Speaking to Star Sports after India's match against South Africa in the first T20I earlier this week, Gavaskar opined that Hardik will be the game change for India in all the T20I matches in the foreseeable future and that he wishes to see the all-rounder take the new ball as well at times.

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"I think he is going to be the game-changer for India, more often than not, in all the matches that are due to come, not just the World Cup but every single match that India plays, whether he bats at No. 5, whether he comes into bowl at first change or second change. Sometimes I will actually want to see him with the new ball," he said.

Hardik made a great return to the India XI as she scored an unbeaten 12-ball 31 with the bat and also bowled an over, albeit for 18 runs in the series opener against Temba Bavuma's men at the Arun Jaitley Stadium.

Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, who was part of the same discussion, was asked if India need Hardik the finisher more than his bowling abilities and he replied saying, "No, I disagree. You need the finisher as well but I think the all-round package of Hardik Pandya gives India options in selection."

"It might give you the option of playing the extra spinner or a bowler less and strengthen your batting and going into the World Cup, I think having him as a full-blown all-rounder is key to the balance of India's team," he added.

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