Hardik Pandya’s elevation to the captaincy of the Indian T20I cricket team has stirred discussions about his role and performance. After India’s semi-final loss in the 2022 T20 World Cup, Pandya took the reins. However, questions about his dual role as a batsman and a bowler have gained momentum. Recently, Madan Lal, a former Indian cricketer, weighed in on the topic at an event in Mumbai. His perspective offers crucial insights into what Pandya must do to succeed as the next potential captain of the Indian T20I side.
Madan Lal’s Expectations for Hardik Pandya: A Dual Role in Batting and Bowling for Team India
The Scrutiny on Pandya
Pandya’s form has been under scrutiny, especially after India’s 3-2 series loss to the West Indies. While he brings dynamism to the team, his inconsistencies have caused concern. Madan Lal pointed out that talent is not enough. “Hardik has to perform,” he stressed. Lal recalls Pandya’s fantastic 92-run inning against Australia and wants to see that level of play again. It’s clear that Pandya’s form with the bat is a point of contention among experts and fans alike.
The Captaincy Question
Madan Lal feels that Pandya could very likely be India’s next T20I captain after Rohit Sharma. However, he clarifies that captaincy isn’t his main concern. “See, he definitely could be the next captain,” Lal noted, “but my concern is not that.” Essentially, Lal emphasizes that Pandya’s individual performance is what needs attention. Leadership is secondary if a player isn’t contributing effectively on the field.
The Bowling Equation
Pandya’s recent return to bowling pleases Madan Lal. His bowling could provide the Indian side with much-needed depth, especially in crucial tournaments. “We need him bowling in the World Cup as that sixth bowler,” Lal stated. Given Pandya’s all-round abilities, this adds a layer of strategic advantage for the team. Moreover, his role as a bowler has become significant, considering India’s plans for the upcoming ODI World Cup and the Asia Cup.
A Balanced Approach
Pandya’s role is not just about batting or bowling; it’s about excelling in both. This is where Lal’s advice seems most pertinent. He suggests that Pandya can’t afford to be a one-dimensional player. He has an “important role,” and ensuring success in that role is imperative. Essentially, Pandya needs to be an asset in multiple departments to help India clinch titles, including the much-anticipated ODI World Cup.
The Stakes are High
The months of September, October, and November are going to be crucial for Indian cricket. With the Asia Cup and the ODI World Cup lined up, the stakes have never been higher. India aims to win the ODI World Cup after a 12-year gap, and Lal believes Pandya could be key to this ambition.
“See, he definitely could be the next captain, the way he is going about leading in T20Is. But my concern is not that. Hardik has to perform. He is so talented and has done well, but where is the Hardik Pandya that scored 92 against Australia? That sort of form I want to see Hardik in,” Lal told Hindustan Times in Mumbai.
“At the same time, I am very happy that he is bowling. We need him bowling in the World Cup as that sixth bowler. They have given him a very important role and Hardik has to ensure that he does well,” Lal said.
Madan Lal’s expectations for Hardik Pandya are both a reflection of Pandya’s potential and a roadmap for his future responsibilities. As the likely future captain of the Indian T20I side, Pandya must elevate his game to meet the nation’s high hopes. His dual role as a bowler and a batsman isn’t just an option but a necessity. With important tournaments on the horizon, it’s time for Pandya to heed Madan Lal’s advice and step up to become the player India needs him to be.