Hardik Pandya is going through a rough phase which is a cause of concern as the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 is less than three months away. The pace bowling all-rounder had a poor phase-one of IPL 2021 where had a strike rate of 118.18 in seven matches. He did not bowl a single ball in the tournament because of a reported niggle.
Unfortunately, his form has not improved since then and he has performed poorly for India in the three ODIs and the first T20I against Sri Lanka. He has had below-average performances with the bat and the ball. Hardik Pandya was dismissed for a duck in the second ODI and failed to convert a start in the third ODI. He struggled for his 10 runs in the first T20I.
Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar has said that Deepak Chahar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar can possibly replace Hardik Pandya in the fast-bowling all-rounder spot in the team if groomed properly.
"Of course, there is a backup. You recently saw Deepak Chahar; he proved that he can be an all-rounder. You did not give Bhuvneshwar Kumar that opportunity. Two-three years ago, when India played in Sri Lanka, then he along with Dhoni, had won India a match. The scenario in that match was similar to the second ODI. They had lost 7-8 wickets and Bhuvneshwar and Dhoni had won that match for India," Sunil Gavaskar said on Sports Tak.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has three 50s in Tests and one in ODIs. He averages an impressive 42.75 with the bat in first-class cricket. Deepak Chahar is no mug with the bat and he proved it in the second ODI with a match-winning 69* in a pressure situation.
The former Indian player said that the two players are not even thought of as all-rounders but must be given an opportunity in the role.
"You never even thought, but these two players could be all-rounders too. He has that batting talent. You're only looking at one person. What has happened in the last 2-3 years is that others who deserved a lot more opportunities, haven't got them. And that is why now today you are looking at one player and saying 'oh he's not in the form'. If you give these guys opportunities, you can find all-rounders," he added.
(Inputs: Hindustan Times)