ICC World Cup 2019: Will Hardik Pandya be Team India’s X-factor?

FE Online
Hardik Pandya, Hardik Pandya World Cup, World Cup news

ICC World Cup 2019: Hardik Pandya has been on a rollercoaster this year. Pandya was embroiled in a controversy for his sexist comments on the show Koffee with Karan. Both Pandya and KL Rahul, who appeared on the talkshow were suspended by the BCCI in the middle of India’s ODI series against Australia. What made things worse for Pandya was that his replacement Vijay Shankar performed well in the remaining one-day internationals.

With World Cup right around the corner, it seemed like Vijay Shankar might edge out Pandya for the all-rounder’s slot in the team. But the fast bowling all-rounder made a roaring comeback at the Indian Premier League. Pandya set the IPL 2019 stage alight scoring 402 runs in 16 matches with a strike rate of nearly 200. He contributed with the ball too, picking 14 wickets this season.

Pandya is a brilliant fielder as well and can make a difference of 15-20 runs which can be a deciding factor in high-pressure games during the World Cup. He took 11 catches this IPL season, some of which were instrumental in his side Mumbai Indians lifting the trophy.

Hardik has played 45 ODI’s and has scored 731 runs with an average of 29.24 and a strike rate of 116.58. He has 44 wickets with an economy rate of 5.53 with his best being 3 for 31. According to former Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag, Hardik Pandya is one of the most important players for the Indian team going into this World Cup.

The Indian team management will be hoping that Hardik Pandya can carry his IPL form into the 2019 World Cup as he could be a game changer for the team. If Pandya manages to finish games with the lower middle order of the team he will definitely become one of the most dangerous players of the tournament this year. The pitches in England will also suit his bowling style and he could make things difficult for the opposition batsmen.