New Delhi: Batting great Sunil Gavaskar named two players who can do the all-rounder’s job for Team India and can replace Hardik Pandya. India have struggled to produce many fast-bowling all-rounders in the recent past, as a result, they rely heavily on Hardik to perform in almost every match. The 27-year-old is going through a patch as he failed to score big on the Sri Lanka tour. Since 2019, Hardik has not bowled to his full potential after sustaining a back injury as in his absence and unavailability as bowler India failed to strike the right balance in the squad.Also Read - Mumbai Indians (MI) Predicted Playing 11 vs KKR IPL 2021 Match 34: Rohit Sharma Set to Play; Question Marks Over Hardik Pandya's Availability Remain
Gavaskar pointed out two players who have the potential to fulfil Hardik’s role in the squad. He picked Deepak Chahar as his first choice as the Chennai Super Kings player recently played a match-winning unbeaten 69-run knock for India in the second ODI against Sri Lanka. The other player he chooses is veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has played some crucial knocks for India in past to rescue them from difficult situations. Also Read - Ravi Shastri Advised Virat Kohli to Quit ODI, T20I Captaincy: Reports
“Of course, there is back-up. You recently saw Deepak Chahar; he proved that he can be an all-rounder. You did not give Bhuvneshwar Kumar that opportunity. Two-three years ago, when India played in Sri Lanka, then he along with Dhoni, had won India a match. The scenario in that match was similar to the second ODI. They had lost 7-8 wickets and Bhuvneshwar and Dhoni had won that match for India,” Gavaskar said on Sports Tak. Also Read - Will be Waste of God-Given Talent: Sunil Gavaskar Wants Sanju Samson to Improve Shot Selection
Gavaskar further said that Team India didn’t give opportunities to the deserving players in the past 2-3 years as they rely heavily on Hardik.
“You never even thought, but these two players could be all-rounders too. He has that batting talent. You’re only looking at one person. What has happened in the last 2-3 years is that others who deserved a lot more opportunities, haven’t got them. And that is why, now today you are looking at one player and saying ‘oh he’s not in form’. If you give these guys opportunities, you can find all-rounders,” he added.
The last two matches of the Sri Lanka tour are going to be very crucial for Hardik to regain his form and make his case strong for the upcoming T20 World Cup.