Hardik Pandya needs to mature a bit more, feels former English cricketer Tim Bresnan, who expects the India all-rounder to play a significant role in the upcoming T20 World Cup.
Besides his exploits with the bat and ball, Pandya has displayed his leadership skills since coming back from an injury layoff, leading Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 title on his debut.
At the recently-concluded Asia Cup too, Pandya showed how crucial he is to the Indian team when he fashioned a five-wicket win over Pakistan in the tournament opener.
“Definitely, a pace bowling all-rounder is quite crucial, it balances your team, it gives you two cricketers in one,” the 37-year-old Bresnan, who is representing LNJ Bhilwara Kings in the second edition of Legends League Cricket here, told PTI in an interaction.
Pandya has battled injury in the past, and the team think-tank is mindful of his workload management, giving him rest for the upcoming T20I series in South Africa.
Bresnan remarked that it was because of the demanding nature of his position.
“It’s a tough position to play because you are always involved in the game, so it’s quite demanding physically. Fast bowling all-rounders are worth the weight in gold.
“Hardik is really good on the field as well, he’s a very good athlete. He’s got to mature a bit more, then he is going to be a top, top player,” Bresnan, who called it quits after playing for 20 years, added.
Bresnan has not followed the Asia Cup and India’s early exit but picked the Rohit Sharma-led side as one of the semifinal contenders alongside Australia, New Zealand, and England for the T20 world Cup.
“You can’t discount India ever... But I think England, Australia and New Zealand probably are the three favourites. But India and Pakistan have the same chance and Sri Lanka have done really well in the Asia Cup, so you never know, whoever brings on the day.”
Pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah is also back after missing the Asia Cup because of injury-related issues and Bresnan thinks he will hit his straps straightaway.
“He’s got genuine pace, he’s got too much quality to be rusty. He is too professional, I think he would be fine for the World Cup,” he said.
As for England, the Jos Buttler-led side will not have opener Jason Roy and Jonny Bairstow, but Bresnan believed they are a well-balanced side.
“We have got a really good batting lineup. If we can keep the seamers fit that will be key for the English team. We’ve got all departments covered.” Talking about Test cricket, Bresnan rated James Anderson and Stuart Broad as the best pace attack in world cricket at the moment and said their domination in the recent win against South Africa is a testament to that.
Anderson and Broad bagged 24 wickets between them as England sealed a come-from-behind 2-1 home series win over South Africa last month.
“I think they are the best attack at the moment, probably in all conditions as well... They are coming on the back of a really good series against New Zealand, the one-off Test against India, and a really good series against South Africa.
“They managed to come out on top. It (against SA) was a series where bowling attacks were dominated, that’s always the same in English conditions. They came out on top so you got to say they are the best,” he said.
“Hopefully Jimmy (Anderson) plays for as long as he wants. Broad is just getting better and better. He’s four years behind Jimmy in terms of age. They will be allowed to decide when it’s enough.” Back to playing after about a year, Bresnan can’t wait to be on the field.
“I can’t wait for it. It’s good to be playing in front of the Indian fans again. It’s a special place to play cricket, there is so much engagement and love for the game here. It’s infectious,” Bresnan, who played two matches at Eden Gardens in 2011, added.