There has always been a debate that who is a better all-rounder when it comes to IPL, is it Hardik Pandya or is it KKR’s Sunil Narine? Honestly even a few years back, this question wouldn’t have stood a chance because Pandya would have easily walked away with bragging rights, given his batting supremacy.
However, tables have turned and things have now changed. With the promotion of Narine to the opening slot of the innings, he has evolved into a pretty decent batsman, rather a pinch-hitter whose usage is mainly done to exploit the fielding restrictions in the first 6 overs.
To give an answer to this question of who stands as a better all-rounder, we will have to delve a bit deeper into numbers. Narine has been playing IPL since 2012 and has been in phenomenal touch with the bat only since 2017 wherein Pandya was always a batting all-rounder.
Narine’s introduction to IPL came with a resonating performance that saw KKR winning the 2012 IPL, thanks to some wondrous outings from the Caribbean spinner who managed to notch up 24 wickets from 15 games. The same is applicable for Pandya as his year of introduction also saw Mumbai Indians lifting the IPL trophy. However, all he could manage with the ball was just one wicket. The entire tide turns on its head when we take the batting statistics into consideration. Pandya managed to rack up 112 runs from those 9 games which aren’t a great figure but definitely stands better than Narine’s 9.
The Caribbean all-rounder has managed to play 110 games that saw him scoring 771 runs at an average of 17.52 while Pandya has managed to notch up 1068 runs from 66 appearances at a decent average of 28.86.
Narine has the best strike rate in IPL as he strikes the ball at 168.34 while Pandya is not too far behind with 154.78 which is pretty awesome. Pandya has also faced 690 balls while Narine could only manage to bat 458 balls.
Both the batsmen stand at the same juncture in the number of half-centuries with three each. However, Narine leads the charge with 93 fours wherein Pandya could manage 72, but the Indian batsman surpasses Narine in over-boundaries with 68 sixes while Narine could only manage 44.
Despite relishing a clear upper hand as a batsman, the equations change drastically in Narine’s favour when we drop down to bowling. From 110 games, Narine has managed to scalp 112 wickets at an average of 23.31 wherein Pandya has managed to notch up 42 from his 66 games at an average of 31.26.
Narine’s economy rate is 6.67, which is one of the best in the fray while Pandya was subjected to quite a hammering with figures of 9.06. Narine has also managed to haul 4 wickets in a single game 6 times accompanied by 1 five-wicket haul. Pandya’s best figures in bowling have been 3 for 20.
Honestly, the comparisons do not balance it out to pick a clear winner, however, when it comes to terming an all-rounder, it is quite difficult to call Narine a proper all-rounder. He is more of a pinch-hitting bowler. Pandya, on the contrary, does belong to the category of an apt all-rounder, given his heroics in both the spectrums.