Former India head coach Ravi Shastri has made a bold statement once again – this time, Shastri has said that star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya is likely to move away from the ODI format after the 2023 World Cup at home.
This statement from Shastri has come in the light of the recent ODI retirement taken by England’s maverick all-rounder Ben Stokes, who big adieu to the 50-over format earlier this month.
England’s 2019 World Cup final hero, Stokes said that it had become “unsustainable” for his body to feature in all three formats.
Will Hardik Pandya really retire from ODIs soon?
And even though Hardik doesn’t play the longest format due to his back injury issues – Pandya hasn’t played a red-ball match since 2018 – Shastri still feels that the Baroda all-rounder will choose T20s over ODIs.
The former head coach asserted that Hardik, who only recently against England made his ODI return with a Man of the Series performance, will play in the next year’s ODI World Cup because it is at home; Hardik will turn 30 by the time the home World Cup commences.
“You have players already choosing what formats they want to play. Take a Hardik Pandya. He wants to play T20 cricket and he is very clear in his mind that ‘I do not want to play anything else,” Shastri said while speaking to Sky Sports.
“He will play the 50-over cricket because there is a World Cup in India next year. After that, you might see him going from that as well. You will see a similar thing happening with other players, they will start choosing formats, they have every right to,” he added.
Pandya is a crucial cog in India’s limited-overs team and him stepping aside from ODI duties will impact the balance of the side in a great deal given he’s India’s premier seam-bowling all-rounder and the 2027 ODI World Cup will be held in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Ravi Shastri further cast doubts about the future and relevance of the bilateral ODI series, asserting that only the ICC World Cup should remain in the focus.
“50-over format might be pushed back but it can still survive if you focus just on the World Cup. From the ICC’s point of view, paramount importance should be given to World Cups, whether it is T20 World Cup or 50-over World Cup, the bucks have to increase. Test cricket will always remain because of the importance it brings to the game,” opined the former India coach.