T20 World Cup: Ishan Kishan in place of Hardik Pandya in India's XI makes no sense - Aakash Chopra
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and his fitness has been the cynosure in the build-up to the team's second game in the T20 World Cup with many experts of the game questioning his selection for the tournament and place in the starting XI. Some have even called for Ishan Kishan to replace the all-rounder. But former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra feels that Ishan's selection in place of Hardik will not only disrupt their batting order, and it will also go against their "selection philosophy".
Hardik hasn't bowled in a T20 game since the home series against England. Neither did he bowl for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021, nor for India in the two warm-up game in the T20 World Cup and the Pakistan game. This raised questions over his fitness and subsequently his selection in the World Cup squad.
Hardik's presence as an all-rounder has provided India with the right balance in the lineup. But will him playing solely as a batsman, India have struggled in freely rotating their bowlers, which was evident from their 10-wicket loss to Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.
Yet Aakash believes that Hardik will retain his spot in the XI for the New Zealand game on October 31, despite not having an impactful 2021 with the bat and that Ishan will have to wait for his opportunity.
"This narrative is bound to continue. When you look at Hardik Pandya and see he is not bowling you are bound to feel whether he actually fits into the team. The question isn't wrong. In 2021 he hasn't scored many runs and also missed a few games as well. But I will consider his performance against Pakistan. How can you judge a class player like Hardik based on just eight balls? But it's a fact that he hasn't made an impact with the bat this year. And when he is not bowling, India completely go out of balance because you only have five bowling options then. But Ishan in place of Hardik? No. Because if he does replace Hardik, he will have to open for India alongside Rohit. Then Rahul at No.4, Pant at No.5 and Suryakumar at No.6? Does it really make sense? If one defeat leads to such a big change then it only shows that we do not believe our selection process. Ishan's inclusion will completely change India's selection philosophy. India can although make changes in their bowling attack. I feel India should continue with Hardik for the New Zealand game and Ishan will have to wait for his opportunity," he said on his YouTube channel.
Hardik was however spotted bowling during India's training session at the ICC Academy on Wednesday and is hence expected to bowl at least two overs for the crucial tie against New Zealand.