If Hardik Pandya is fully fit, he walks into the side: Ravi Shastri

Hardik Pandya bowled his full quota of overs in Gujarat Titans' opening game vs LSG.

Ravi Shastri and Hardik Pandya
Ravi Shastri and Hardik Pandya. (Photo Source: Getty Images and IPL/BCCI)

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Former India head coach Ravi Shastri feels Hardik Pandya can walk into the Indian team if he is fully fit. The all-rounder’s bowling has been the talking point since the T20 World Cup last year. Hardik didn’t play any competitive cricket after the mega event and worked hard on his fitness. Shastri, after looking at him bowling ahead of Gujarat Titans game against LSG, opined that he has really worked on regaining his fitness.

With the T20 World Cup set to be played in Australia later this year, Hardik Pandya’s fitness will be crucial for India. Interestingly, the Titans skipper bowled at full tilt on Monday (March 28) in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL). While he didn’t pick up a wicket and conceded 37 runs, the 28-year-old bowled his full quota of overs which is a good sign for Indian cricket.

“He looks fit and the early picture also says that he has probably worked very hard and also realises that with the World Cup coming up in four months from now, he has got to be in at his optimum fitness. We saw before the toss he was bowling and loosening up, which is a terrific sign for Indian cricket because I think he is twice the player when he bowls. It gives that added strength to his bow. He plays and bats differently,” Shastri said while speaking to ESPNCricinfo.

Hardik is a match winner and a complete package, says Shastri

Ravi Shastri reckoned that, if fully fit and bowling, Hardik Pandya will not have to worry about his place in the side. He also termed the all-rounder as a complete package and lauded his bowling skills at the same time as well. In terms of IPL, Shastri felt that it is important for players like Hardik to stay fit and play whole season to keep the entertainment quotient high.

“There is no greater site in IPL when someone like Hardik is in full flow. He is an entertainer, match-winner and crowd pleaser. He has got the whole package. One hopes he is fully fit from the tournament point of view, the entertainment point of view and of course for his team that is playing in the IPL for the first time.

“He knows if he is fully fit, he walks into the side. If he is fully fit and bowling, I don’t think he has to worry about his place in the side, the other guys will have to. He is a match winner and a complete package. He is a safe fielder in the outfield. He is a smart bowler, he judges things well because he thinks like a batter when he bowls,” the former India head coach added.