We are more than happy to have Hardik Pandya as a pure batsman, says GT head coach Ashish Nehra

It seems like Ashish Nehra is not worried much about Hardik Pandya - the all-rounder.

Ashish Nehra
Ashish Nehra. (Photo Source: Twitter)

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The mega auction for IPL 2022 concluded on Sunday (February 13). Around 600 players were listed to go under the hammer and by the end of the auction, a total of 204 players were bought by the 10 teams. This year’s auction was a bigger event with two new teams – Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans – also making their debut.

The Gujarat-based franchise will be led by their local boy Hardik Pandya, one of the 3 players picked by the side in the initial draft along with opening batter Shubman Gill and star spinner Rashid Khan. The Titans boast of a star coaching line-up. Former South African batter Gary Kirsten, the main moving force behind India’s victory in the 2011 World Cup has been roped in as the batting coach as well as the mentor for the side.

Former England opener Vikram Solanki has been appointed as the Director of Cricket and former Indian pacer and one of the members of the 2011 World Cup-winning squad, Ashish Nehra is the head coach of the team. The biggest concern for the Titans is their skipper Hardik Pandya’s fitness, and more so, his bowling. However, the coach Ashish Nehra is not worried much about it.

He has stated that the Gujarat franchise is more than happy to play him as a pure batsman in the side. “If he bowls, it’s great. But to be very honest, we are more than happy to have Hardik Pandya as a pure batsman. I don’t see any T20 team in the world, not talking just about the IPL, where Hardik doesn’t fit as a batsman. Whatever number he bats, be it 4 or 5 or 6,” Nehra said while speaking to India Today.

Pandya hasn’t been able to bowl consistently for the Indian team and has been criticized for the same. Pandya is yet to take up the role of a pace-bowling all-rounder for the Indian team since his return. His selection in the squad for the T20 World Cup came under scanner as Pandya wasn’t in the best of forms with the bat and couldn’t bowl at full tilt as well.

If he is only fit for batting, I will be happy, says Nehra

Nehra’s remarks have come after the Titans secured landmark deals for all-rounders Rahul Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, and Vijay Shankar at the mega auction. “Yes, there is always speculation around his bowling. If he can bowl for Gujarat Titans, that will be great. But yes, if he is only batting fit, I will be happy with Hardik Pandya,” Nehra added.

Pandya will be looking forward to putting up a string of consistent performances in the upcoming IPL so that he can make a comeback into the Indian team.