Former India seamer Irfan Pathan believes that all-rounder Hardik Pandya is still not a match-winner like Ben Stokes is for England. Stokes has been fabulous with the bat and the ball for his team in the past few years.
Recently, Pathan had tweeted about the lack of all-rounders like Stokes in the Indian side and people had reacted by naming Pandya. However, during a video interview with Cricket.com, Pathan said,” Ben Stokes has become No. 1 all-rounder in the world by winning matches for England. I wish for Team India to have an all-rounder who wins games for India. Yuvraj Singh was a kind of guy who was a match-winner. Having an all-rounder in the team is a different thing and I am talking about purely in Test cricket.”
Justifying his statement, Pathan said, “Unfortunately, Hardik Pandya is not in top 10 in any format of the game for India. He has the potential, there is no doubt about it. If he has that calibre of an allrounder who can win matches for India, Indian cricket team will be invincible. The Indian cricket team is way better than the rest in the world.
“We have guys like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. We have such immensely talented cricketers like Mohd Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma. We have Ashwin, two wrist spinners and Ravindra Jadeja for that matter but if we have that one piece which can put everyone together- that’s an all-rounder. We have tried Vijay Shankar and some new would also come in future. I am simply saying India need a match-winning all-rounder”.
Pathan, who was also tried as an all-rounder for a considerable time, added that England claimed the World Cup due to the presence of an all-rounder. “Look, England won the World Cup because of that one all-rounder. England had other players in the team as well but one match-winning all-rounder took the team to another level. Why we still talk about the 1983 Indian Team, because it had Kapil Dev who won the matches singlehandedly. If he had not won the match singlehandedly against Zimbabwe, we might not have won the 1983 World Cup. That’s what I want. I want my Indian team to be invincible,” he said.
Stokes, who was born in New Zealand, has played 66 Tests, 95 ODIs and 26 T20Is for England in his 6-year-long career. He has scored 4419 runs with an average of 38.42 and also has 156 wickets in his Tests. His white-ball cricket records are also impressive as he has scored 2682 runs with an average of over 40 and also bagged 70 wickets.
On the other hand, 26-year-old Pandya has a comparatively smaller international career. He has 11 Test, 54 ODI and 40 T20I appearances for India so far.
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