So, when Ricky Ponting was asked on ‘The ICC Review’ to name the top-five players that he would select while going for a World T20I team, Hardik Pandya was one of the first picks.
The T20 World Cup is less than two months away and all the teams are gearing up for the mega-contest. The Rohit Sharma-led Indian cricket team is also getting ready for the contest with some top-level series, including the Asia Cup. India have not won any ICC title since the 2013 Champions Trophy, and all eyes would be on Rohit’s side to end that drought. In the last few months, several Indian players have performed well in the T20 format, and Hardik Pandya features prominently among them. So, when Ricky Ponting was asked on ‘The ICC Review’to name the top-five players that he would select while going for a World T20I team, Pandya was one of the first picks.
The former Australian cricket team captain also named fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah in the list. Ponting’s first pick was Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan followed by Pakistan’s Babar Azam, Pandya, England’s Jos Buttler and Bumrah.
For Pandya, Ponting said: “On current form, it’s pretty hard to go past Hardik Pandya at number three. His IPL was outstanding. To see him back at the bowling crease is something that I was always a little bit unsure would actually ever happen, he’s had some really big injury setbacks, which has obviously affected how much he’s been able to play for India.
“But he’s back bowling, and at 140kph which he was doing four or five years ago. But his batting and his maturity while batting has come on in leaps and bounds.
“He understands the game better and he understands his game better than ever before and right now he’s probably the best allrounder in the world in T20 cricket, and could potentially be in ODI cricket.”
Regarding Bumrah, Ponting said: “Jasprit Bumrah in at number five. He is probably the most complete bowler across Test cricket, One Day cricket and T20 cricket in the world right now. Very good with the new ball when anyone decides to use him that way.
“India might think of giving him an over with the new ball in Australia (at the T20 World Cup) where it might swing but what you can guarantee is a couple of great high quality death overs, which every team is looking for – someone that can execute slow balls and bouncers.”