Aakash Chopra, the former India opener, believes that India needs to have a number of batsmen who can play different roles in different positions to lessen the pressure on star all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
The 27-year-old all-rounder, who underwent a back surgery in October last year, performed brilliantly in the white-ball leg of India’s tour of Australia, scoring 210 runs from three ODIs and 78 runs from three T20Is.
He won the Man of the Series award in the T20I series owing to his match-winning knock of 42 not out in 22 balls in the second T20I, which helped India seal the series.
Chopra believes India need a player who can support Pandya in the crucial death overs.
“If you look at India’s golden period in white-ball cricket, MS Dhoni had Yuvraj Singh with him. There is no better finisher in the world better than Dhoni, but he too needed someone. You cannot be a finisher all by yourself,” Chopra told Cricbuzz.
“If you have just one – Hardik Pandya as the finisher, then roles and responsibilities change a lot.”
Chopra also added that the other finisher should be someone apart from Virat Kohli as the India skipper plays a more vital role as the anchor of the batting attack.
“As far as Virat Kohli is concerned, if you have five-six batsmen in the team, each one has a different role. Playing anchor suits Kohli the best and I don’t think anyone else in world cricket plays that role better than him,” he said.
“Take any format for example – ODIs or T20Is. It’s just that he needs to find players around him who can perform other roles. He has never scored at 170, never has never will. So don’t consider him Usain Bolt, who will run away with big shots.”
Coming off a surgery and yet to start bowling on a regular basis, Pandya’s showing in the just-concluded limited-overs leg of the tour gave rise to hopes that he might be considered for Test selection in the future.
Earlier last year, Pandya had missed the Test series against South Africa, the home series against Bangladesh and West Indies, a T20I series against Sri Lanka, an ODI series against Australia at home, and also the entire tour of New Zealand this year.
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