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Kaif: Pandya Can Emulate Yuvraj's Style

2023 Oct 07, 17:58, New delhi

Former Indian cricketer Mohammed Kaif has expressed his belief that all-rounder Hardik Pandya will play a crucial role in the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, especially batting at the number six position, drawing comparisons to Yuvraj Singh's performance in the 2011 edition of the tournament when he excelled with both bat and ball.

India and Australia will kickstart their World Cup campaign in Chennai on Sunday.

In an interview with Star Sports, Kaif said that Hardik Pandya is well-prepared before heading to the nets and has a clear plan in mind for the last crucial 10 overs, which often involve death bowling. During this phase, one needs to hold his shape and stay into a good position, maintaining proper footwork and shape is vital for playing big shots effectively.

"Hardik Pandya always prepare a plan before going to nets. He already knows what he needs to work on. The way we have seen him batting, it shows that he has his plan for the last 10 overs. In the last 10 overs there will be pure death bowling so there you need to hold your shape by staying into a good position with proper foot movement and play big shots," said Kaif on Friday.

Kaif said that the way he has been hitting in the nets, he has a plan for hitting the ball straight and in the 'V', that is between mid-on and mid-off.

"He is hitting the shots straight along the ground, indicating that he has a proper plan for hitting the ball in a V-shape and straight only. Recently, we have seen Hardik Pandya playing at number 3, 4 in IPL but he playing at number 6 for India will play the same role, which Yuvraj Singh has played in 2011 world cup. Hardik Pandya has the ability to play like Yuvraj Singh, who played and finished the game at number 6 for India in the 2011 World Cup with both ball and bat. Observing his net practice sessions, I get the feeling that his main goal is to hit fours and sixes straight down the middle of the ground, indicating that he is following his game plan. Hardik Pandya will definitely play a significant role in this World Cup," explained the former batter.

In the 2011 WC, Yuvraj was the 'Player of the Tournament'. He scored 362 runs in nine matches at an average of over 90 with a century and four fifties, with the best score of 113. He was the eight-highest run-scorer in the tournament. He also took 15 wickets with the best figures of 5/31 and was the fourth-highest wicket-taker in the World Cup.

Pandya has a solid record at number six. In 23 ODIs, he has scored 775 runs at this position at an average of 36.90, with the best score of 92* and six half-centuries in 23 innings.

This year in 16 ODIs, Pandya has scored 372 runs at an average of 33.81 and a strike rate of 93.93 with three fifties and best score of 87. He has also taken 16 wickets, with the best score of 3/3. With his all-round abilities, he will be extremely crucial to the fortunes of India during this World Cup at home.

India squad: Rohit Sharma (c), Hardik Pandya (vc), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav.

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith, Alex Carey, Josh Inglis, Sean Abbott, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Starc. 


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