The T20 World Cup is less than two months away and all the teams are gearing up for the mega competition. The Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team is also gearing up to contest some top-level series including the Asia Cup. India has not won an ICC title since Champions Trophy 2013 and all eyes would be on Rohit’s side to end that drought. Hardik Pandya is prominently featured among the Indian players who have excelled in the T20 format during the past few months So when Ricky Ponting was asked in ‘The ICC Review’ to name the top five players he would pick when he went into the World T20I squad, Pandya was one of the first picks.
Fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah ko was also included in the list by the former captain of Australia’s cricket team. Rashid Khan of Afghanistan was Ponting’s top pick, followed by Babar Azam of Pakistan, Pandya, Jos Buttler of England, and Bumrah.
On Pandya, Ponting said: “On current form, it’s quite difficult to beat Hardik Pandya at number three. His IPL has been outstanding. To see him back in the bowling crease is something I was always a bit unsure if it would ever happen.”, had some really big setbacks due to injuries which of course affected how much he was able to play for India.
“But he’s back bowling, at 140km/h, which he did four or five years ago. But his batting and his batting maturity have come on in leaps and bounds.”
He is currently perhaps the best all-rounder in the world in T20 cricket and might be in ODI cricket because he understands the game and his game better than before.
About Bumrah, Ponting said, “Jasprit Bumrah is at number five.He is arguably the world’s best complete bowler in Test, One Day, and Twenty20 cricket. Very good with a new ball when someone decides to use it way”.
India may be considering giving him a run with the new ball in Australia (at the T20 World Cup), where he can swing, but you can guarantee some terrific high-quality death overs, which every team is looking for – someone who can execute slow balls and bouncers.