Hardik Pandya can be in any white ball team solely as batter, if he bowls, it's bonus: Ashish Nehra

'You can’t keep Hardik as your fifth bowler in T20 or 50 overs, he can only be your sixth bowler,' Nehra said.

Hardik Pandya Maiden T20I Fifty
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Hardik Pandya. (Photo Source: Twitter/BCCI)

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The substantial back surgery that Hardik Pandya underwent in 2019 has had a significant influence on his bowling. The all-rounder was facing back issues which forced him to travel to the UK to get the necessary treatment as it was having a direct effect on his performance. His IPL coach Ashish Nehra feels that Hardik can be used in the team as the sixth bowler and he should be considered as a batting all-rounder.

However, the Baroda cricketer hasn’t been able to bowl frequently across all formats since making a full recovery from the injury. His comeback in the IPL while leading the Gujarat Titans was remarkable, and it earned Hardik a place in India’s current T20 squad as he was able to contribute equally with the bat and the ball.

“Even Hardik won’t be able to answer that since you can plan but things don’t always fall into place. But so far so good. Hardik can be in any white ball team solely as a batter. On top of that, if he bowls it will be a bonus. But you can’t keep him as your fifth bowler in T20 or 50 overs. He can only be your sixth bowler,” Nehra was quoted by Telegraph India.

Pandya was associated with Ashish Nehra throughout his time in the IPL as the former India cricketer was the head coach of the new team. The duo made it work for their side and lifted the prestigious cup in style in their maiden outing at the mega event. As the 28-year-old has entered the ODI setup, there have been doubts over him bowling the 10-overs quota as Nehra also did not have a clear answer to the question.

“But looking at his fitness, you have built it up slowly. He will not be going to the West Indies for ODIs which is good in a way. When you are an out-and-out fast bowler you don’t have a choice. You have to bowl, you have to be fit, but it’s not the case with Hardik. He has been doing well during the last 2-3 months,” he added.

You are only going to struggle when you look at Hardik Pandya as your fifth bowler: Nehra

Nehra believes that Hardik Pandya can be looked upon as the fifth bowler of the team, but further opined that it would be better for the team to consider him as the sixth bowler.

“He can bowl 10 overs also in 50-over cricket. But even if he gives 5-6 overs, it’s a huge bonus. Yesterday (Tuesday, 1st ODI) you had four bowlers besides Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik. You are only going to struggle when you look at Hardik as your fifth bowler,” Nehra stated.