‘Hardik is not a newbie, needs to…’: Irfan Pathan questions Pandya’s leadership skills | Cricket News

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NEW DELHI: Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan raised doubts about Hardik Pandya‘s leadership prowess on Monday, criticising his failure to adjust to match scenarios and devise effective strategies, which has proven costly for the Mumbai Indians (MI) in this IPL season.
Taking over the captaincy from Rohit Sharma, Hardik has faced substantial criticism from fans and former players due to MI’s disappointing performance thus far.Pathan’s remarks highlight concerns regarding Pandya’s leadership capabilities and his team’s inability to perform up to expectations under his captaincy in the ongoing IPL campaign.
“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 experienced a remarkable journey under coach Ashish Nehra‘s guidance at Gujarat Titans over the past two years. Leading the team, Pandya steered them to two finals and clinched 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.”

‘I will be disappointed if Shivam Dube doesn’t go to the World Cup’

Dube has been in scintillating form this season, impressing with his performances on the field. Pathan expressed his belief that Dube deserves to be selected for the T20 World Cup, given his exceptional form and contributions.
“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.”

‘Pick a gun left-arm pacer, a wrist spinner for T20 World Cup’

Talking about India’s bowling line-up in the World Cup, Pathan emphasised the importance of including a top-quality left-arm pacer and a skilled wrist spinner in the squad.
“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.”
In light of the discussions surrounding Virat Kohli‘s relatively low strike rate in this IPL season, Pathan offered a balanced perspective, suggesting that while strike rate is important, it shouldn’t be the sole criterion for assessing a batter’s performance.
Pathan emphasised the significance of considering a batter’s average alongside their strike rate when making selections.
“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.”
‘We’ve to think about the Impact rule going forward’
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.”
(With PTI inputs)

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