"India will be in serious, If something happens to him"- Gautam Gambhir urges India to create back-up for star player ahead of ODI WC
Hardik Pandya led Team India successfully in the first game of the three-match T20I series against Sri Lanka on Tuesday. India successfully defended the target of 163 and won by two runs. Hardik led the team from the front with his all-round performance.
He scored a vital 29 runs, came out to bowl in the powerplay, and ended up with 0/12 in his three overs. His form is very important for the team because he can win the game in both departments of the match.
But his history with injury will be the biggest concern for India ahead of the 2023 ODI World Cup. India is set to host the upcoming mega-event in October and November, and the all-rounder will be very important for the team. Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir reckons that India needs to groom a back-up for Hardik, who just came back from a back injury.
In a discussion on Star Sports, Gambhir said that Hardik's presence opens many options for the team, but if something happens to him, India will be in big trouble. He stated that Hardik's current form has been brilliant, and he has played his best cricket since his comeback from the injury, but the management needs to look at other back-ups as well.
Gambhir said, "They (India) need to quickly identify a back-up for Hardik; if something happens to him, India will be in serious, serious trouble. I think he has that X-factor. Hopefully, he can try and give that X-factor or courage to other guys as well."
Furthermore, the former opener said that the all-rounder has done whatever has been asked of him, and with the new-look Indian side and a lot of youngsters in it, India can look to create more fearless players for the future.
Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan also said that on Indian pitches, the team can look to use two spin-bowling all-rounders along with Hardik. He pointed out that India can easily choose from Washington Sundar, Ravindra Jadeja, and Axar Patel, while Deepak Hooda can also bowl some useful overs in the middle.