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Hardik is not a newbie, needs to adapt’

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New Delhi, April 15: Former allrounder Irfan Pathan on Monday questioned Hardik Pandya’s leadership skills, saying his inability to adapt to match situations and failure to come up with a proper plan has cost Mumbai Indians dearly so far in this IPL.
Hardik, who replaced Rohit Sharma as captain of MI this season, has received a lot of flak from fans and former players alike following the five-time champions’ dismal run so far.
“Hardik needs to manage MI really well. Whenever MI lost, Pandya had a big role to play,” Pathan said on Star Sports Pressroom.
“Even yesterday, Akash Madhwal didn’t bowl the last over, you need to give responsibility to him. When Shreyas Gopal got the wicket of Rachin Ravindra, why didn’t you give him another over?
“He only bowled one over… there was some slowness in the pitch and you need to adapt quickly, unfortunately, Pandya has not been able to adapt so far.”
Hardik had a phenomenal run under coach Ashish Nehra at Gujarat Titans in the last two years as he led the team to two finals and won the trophy in 2022.
Asked if GT coach Ashish Nehra’s effect does show, Pathan said: “… it was there, his effect is helping Shubman Gill too but do you think MI support staff is not helping him? They are trying to help, it is up to Hardik Pandya.
“He needs to make sure he has Plan A, Plan B. He needs to be aware of the situation. He is not a newbie, he has been playing for so many years. If he is not going to use his own experience and be smart about it, he will be found out and that is what is happening right now.”
Irfan bats for Dube
Shivam Dube has been in rollicking form this season and Pathan said he will be disappointed if he is not picked for the T20 World Cup.
“Eventually there will be a time when Shivam Dube will put pressure on Pandya, the kind of hitting ability that Dube has, the way he has murdered the spinners, no one comes closer to him in Indian batting in the middle order, he is the best now,” he said.
“I will be highly disappointed if he doesn’t go to the World Cup. We have missed a guy like him, someone like Yuvraj Singh who can hit six sixes, he plays fearlessly from the word go. I haven’t seen anything like that.
“Yes, Hardik’s ability as a hitter has gone down and that is why a lot of people are talking about him. It might happen that both will take the flight to the World Cup but I am excited about Dube and what he can bring to the table.”
India’s bowling
attack for WC
Talking about India’s bowling line-up in the World Cup, Pathan said selectors need to include a gun left-arm pacer and a wrist spinner.
“I want selectors to have an in-form bowling line-up, you will have (Jasprit) Bumrah, probably a left-arm spinner in Jadeja or Axar Patel, a good wrist spinner, who will be wicket-taker in the middle overs. Get a gun left-armer who is in form, which we missed so many years now. If Arshdeep Singh can bowl like he is doing but also keep an eye on Mohsin Khan.”
There has been a lot of talk about Virat Kohli’s low strike rate this IPL but Pathan also said the focus should not only be on strike rate but also average when it comes to picking a batter.
“Kohli’s strike rate is slightly better than Chris Gayle in international T20s, close to 138. Strike rates of Hardik Pandya, and Rohit Sharma is 139, we don’t talk about them.
“You need to make it strike-rate plus average, you can’t have the same yardstick for all players.”
Use for Impact player rule
Pathan feels Indian cricket has to think about the impact rule in the long run.
“This rule is not that great for Indian cricket in the long term, see Venkatesh Iyer, Shivam Dube is not bowling, lots of all-rounders are not able to bowl. You want the youngsters to be part of the game.
“I am really worried about the allrounder, eventually going forward we will have to think about this aspect. Yes, impact rule is benefitting the entertainment part of cricket but Indian cricket has to think about it going forward as far as allrounders are concerned.” (PTI)

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