Why India’s World Cup Hopes Hinge on Hardik Pandya Fitness: 3 Critical Reasons

Hardik Pandya’s participation in India’s upcoming matches in the 2023 ODI World Cup hangs in the balance due to an Hardik Pandya Fitness ankle injury. The versatile all-rounder suffered an awkward fall while trying to stop a ball during a match against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.

Following this incident, Hardik Pandya did not participate in the remainder of the game. Although he was available to bat in the second innings, his services were not required as Team India secured a convincing seven-wicket victory.

Latest reports indicate that Pandya has been sent to Bangalore for further medical evaluation after undergoing scans during the first innings of the same match. He is set to be treated by a specialist from England, which suggests he will be sidelined for some time.

Hardik Pandya Fitness

Hardik Pandya plays a pivotal role as the sixth bowling option and a key lower-order batsman for Team India. His absence, even if temporary, poses a significant setback for the team. Let’s delve into three reasons why his injury is a major concern:

1 Upsets the Team’s Balance

Hardik Pandya has been a valuable asset for Team India over the past decade. His role as a quality all-rounder adds a unique balance to the squad that is challenging to replace. He has the ability to bowl effectively in all phases of the game and is equipped for various batting scenarios. His absence would create an imbalance in the team, forcing them to choose between an extra batsman or an extra bowler in the playing XI. In modern cricket, having depth in both batting and bowling is crucial as it allows teams to play an attacking style of cricket on both fronts.

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2 Crucial Matches In World Cup on the Horizon

Team India has had a strong start to the 2023 ODI World Cup, winning their first four matches. After facing formidable opponents in Australia and Pakistan, they encountered relatively easier teams in Bangladesh and Afghanistan. However, their upcoming schedule includes two critical matches against New Zealand and tournament favorites England. Ideally, India would want to field their best XI for these challenging contests, but Pandya’s absence may complicate their strategy. India’s squad depth is commendable, but having Pandya in the lineup would certainly boost their chances.

3 Untested Lower Order

India’s top-order batsmen have been in sensational form in the World Cup, shouldering the majority of the run-scoring responsibilities. Players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Shubman Gill have excelled, while Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul have contributed effectively in the middle order. As a result, Hardik Pandya has had limited opportunities to bat, only coming in once to finish an innings.

Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur are yet to be tested with the bat in the tournament. In situations where the lower order’s support is needed, having Hardik Pandya to take charge would be ideal. If Team India includes Mohammed Shami in the playing XI, the untested lower order may struggle without Pandya, with Jadeja being the last recognized batsman at No. 6.

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