Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Though hosts India have a dream run in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023 so far, they had a major blow ahead of the crucial tie against New Zealand when star all-rounder Hardik Pandya was injured.

Pandya has reportedly flown to Bengaluru to receive treatment at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and he is ruled out of the all-important match. Team India’s balance has been severely affected with Pandya’s injury.

Pandya has been integral to the side as a third seamer and a utility batter lower down the middle order. In Pandya’s absence, India may be forced to go in with either a specialist fast bowler in Mohammed Shami or a specialist batter in Suryakumar Yadav. However, neither of them can perform the dual role that Pandya does.

Meanwhile, as per former Australian star Matthew Hayden, there really isn’t anyone in the world who can replace Pandya at the moment.

“Pandya is that good an all-rounder at the moment, and when you think back into the history of the way he has been performing, whenever he is not playing for any team there is always a balance issue. He provides that great stability,” said Hayden.

“The good thing for India is that they’ve got batting cover. Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan can easily slot into that role, and then you get your specialist seamer Mohammad Shami back into the side, so that also would be a very good side. I don’t think you can have Jadeja batting up the order, I feel that’s a fragility in the Indian batting line up. The best combination is to get a specialist batter in there, and that way then you have an option to pick a specialist seam bowler as well in Shami,” the former aggressive Australian opener added.