A key component of India’s plan for the T20 World Cup is Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder made his comeback this year during the IPL 2022 and has blossomed as the most sought-after player in the Indian team.
He was India’s major asset during India’s four-wicket loss in the opening T20I against Australia. Pandya struck 71* off 30 deliveries, his best score in T20Is after 52 innings. In Green’s final over of the innings, Pandya also struck three consecutive sixes, earning praise from both current and former cricket players for his outstanding performance in Mohali. On the other hand, seasoned players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma struggled to make a huge impact. After that, he bowled two overs giving away 22 runs.
Former India coach Ravi Shastri also regards Pandya as the best T20I all-rounder in the world. However, former captain of the Pakistan cricket team Rashid Latif believes that Ben Stokes is a better all-arounder than Hardik. This is because he feels Stokes has played a vital role in winning the ODI World Cup in 2019.
“There’s no doubt that he (Hardik) is a very good player, but it’s a bilateral series. You see such innings in bilateral series. The Asia Cup concluded recently, and you have to count those performances too. I’m not talking about today’s (Tuesday) match, but Ben Stokes is proven. He won the World Cup and he won Test matches for England,” Latif said in a video on the YouTube channel ‘Caught Behind’.
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“So, I don’t think you can even compare when it comes to (performances) on the ground. Because a trophy is a trophy. World Cup or Test matches, Ben Stokes is ahead of Hardik in that. Having said that, yes, some of Hardik’s innings have been better than Ben Stokes. But having better innings and being better than Stokes are two completely different things.”
On October 23, India and Pakistan face off in the opening match of the T20 World Cup.