New Delhi, Oct 20: Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden feels that whenever India’s fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya is not playing, it has always been seen that his absence affects the team’s balance.
Pandya has been ruled out of India's next match in the 2023 Men’s ODI World Cup against New Zealand at the HPCA in Dharamsala on Sunday, after injuring his left ankle against Bangladesh at the MCA Stadium in Pune on Thursday.
“No one in the world really. He that good an all-rounder at the moment, and when you think back into the history of the way he’s been performing, whenever he’s not playing for any team there is always a balance issue. He provides that great stability,” said Hayden to ESPNCricinfo.
At Pune, while trying to stop a boundary hit by Litton Das on third ball of the ninth over, Pandya seemed to twist his left ankle in his follow-through after slipping in the process of saving the four. Pandya, who is now under treatment by the BCCI medical team, will join the Indian team directly in Lucknow for the match against defending champions England on October 29.
Though he batted only once, making an unbeaten 11 in India’s opening tournament win over Australia in Chennai, Pandya had picked five wickets till the ankle injury came in. With him now missing the match against New Zealand, India need to see how they cover up for the skills he brings to the table.
“The good thing for India is that they’ve got batting cover. Surya Kumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan can easily slot into that role, and then you get your specialist seamer Mohammad Shami back into the side, so that also would be a very good side.”
“I don’t think you can have Jadeja batting up the order, I feel that’s a fragility in the Indian batting line up. The best combination is to get a specialist batter in there, and that way then you have an option to pick a specialist seam bowler as well in Shami,” added Hayden on how India’s playing eleven can look in Pandya’s absence.
With four wins in as many matches, hosts’ India are one of two teams to be still unbeaten in the ongoing Men’s ODI World Cup. The two-time champions will next face table-toppers New Zealand, who are the only other unbeaten side in the competition, and ahead of India on net run rate. (IANS)