Hardik Pandya: ‘He is a big-match player’: Former cricketers back Hardik Pandya to shine in T20 World Cup | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Former cricketers Sanjay Manjrekar and Sanjay Bangar have defended the selection of Hardik Pandya for the T20 World Cup, citing his exceptional performances in past international tournaments.
Questions arose about Pandya’s role as an all-rounder and captain after a lackluster IPL season. However, Manjrekar firmly believes that the selectors made the right choice in picking him for the T20 World Cup.Speaking on Star Sports, he highlighted Pandya’s impressive World Cup record.
“I have been repeatedly saying, even before this match [warm-up match against Bangladesh], if you see Hardik Pandya’s performances in World Cups, he played the all-rounder’s role very well in the 2019 World Cup,” Manjrekar said. “He had a main performance in the India-Pakistan match on the big stage, and see his performance with the bat in the semi-final India lost in Adelaide; he scored 60 runs at a strike rate of 190.”
Manjrekar also suggested that the IPL struggles were more about external pressures and environmental factors.
“What happened in the IPL was a slight temperamental issue because he was feeling the pressure from outside. The environment might not have been good. I am not at all surprised that he will feel slightly relaxed and relieved after donning India’s and not the Mumbai Indians’ blues. He has the ability, and I am repeatedly saying that he is a big-match player,” he added.

Echoing Manjrekar’s sentiments, former India batter Sanjay Bangar emphasized that Hardik’s past performances for India should be the focus, not his recent IPL form.
“You should definitely see what he has done for India. His record in World Cup cricket is exceptional. Whether he is playing Test cricket, 50-over, or 20-over format for India, he has given fantastic performances in all three formats,” Bangar stated.
Bangar also noted that injuries have impacted Pandya’s career, but his contributions when fit have been significant.
“There was a phase in the middle for sure where he got injured and because of that, he couldn’t play much, but whenever he comes, the Indian team’s balance becomes much better,” he said.
Both Manjrekar and Bangar are confident that Pandya will rise to the occasion and demonstrate his value to the Indian team once again.


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