Former India cricketer Irfan Pathan feels that all-rounder Hardik Pandya will provide the team management with a wealth of options against South Africa.
A fully fit Pandya makes his return to the squad in a five-match T20I series against South Africa. The talented all-rounder enjoyed an excellent IPL season with the bat, scoring 487 runs in 15 matches. His spell of 3/17 in the IPL final was a match-winning performance.
“Hardik Pandya is very valuable and he is capable of finishing the game. He can do that, batting from the top as well. So, the management is quite aware of this, and having him in the team, they don’t just have one or two but three finishers in the team. The way Hardik Pandya bats, he is capable of scoring sixes anytime and has started playing along the ground too, which is why this season in the IPL, he has been great. Getting back to batting, the Indian team, having three finishers, has filled up the gaps, and having him back in the team excites me a lot,” Pathan said on Star Sports’ show Follow The Blues.
The Indian team also boasts of two emerging bowlers, Arshdeep Singh and Umran Malik, both who have been exceptional for their IPL franchises this year. The former has been one of Punjab Kings’ leading pacers, specially picking wickets at regular intervals in the death overs.
In 36 IPL matches, Arshdeep has picked up 40 wickets at an economy rate of 8.42 with one five-wicket haul to his name. Jammu and Kashmir’s Umran has breathed fire, clocking 150 kmph consistently.
“Absolutely thrilled to see these two guys getting the India call-up. Arshdeep Singh has been bowling well for a long time now. A left-arm bowler does give you a different angle, but the way he has bowled in the death is what has impressed me the most,” he said.
“Umran Malik – Wow – you know, he’s bowled consistently at 150km. I’m really impressed with him. The whole world is excited, not just India because there aren’t many who can bowl consistently 150km in the world. In that way, he has got potential. Obviously, he is inexperienced as far his first-class cricket is concerned. But I think this team management, Rahul Dravid, and all the coaches will back him,” he added.