Aakash Chopra believes that an Indian team without Hardik Pandya will struggle in the T20 World Cup in 2022.
Hardik’s fitness issues were a major hurdle for the Indian team at the recent T20 World Cup. The all-rounder, who decided to take a break from cricket after the mega event, returned to the game in IPL 2022 and has since become an important member of India’s T20I squad.
Aakash Chopra discussed a few all-rounders who might be selected for India’s middle order at the 2017 World Cup in a video posted on his YouTube page. He mentioned Hardik in the following way:
“The deal has been completely finalized by Hardik Pandya. In my view, there is no question. He contributes runs and wickets in addition to maintaining the balance. You will be in a bind if Hardik Pandya is not on this team.”
“Since the T20 World Cup, he has participated in 13 games, scoring 281 runs at an average of 31 and a 140 strike rate, including one fifty against England. Eight wickets have been taken by him. The IPL statistics are incredible—487 runs at a 44 batting average and eight wickets. The current most valuable player in Indian cricket is Hardik Pandya.”
Aakash Chopra on Venkatesh Iyer’s odds of making India’s middle order:
Venkatesh Iyer has a relatively decent T20I track history, Aakash Chopra noted when discussing the southpaw, noting:
“Just after the World Cup, Venkatesh Iyer made his debut. The stats, which include 133 runs in seven innings at an average of 33 and a 162 strikeout to walk ratio, are not awful.”
“However, the IPL was awful. He had a strike rate of 108 and scored 182 runs in 12 games, averaging just 16. Despite how bad it may be, I believe Venkatesh is out of the running for the IPL 2022 and will not be a member of the Indian team. IPL 2021 was good, and that is why he was selected.”
Iyer is not likely to be considered by the Indian selectors for the T20 World Cup.