Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori has supported Gujarat Titans (GT) captain Hardik Pandya as India’s No. 4 batter in the shortest format. He stated that it will be a ‘perfect’ position for him, Vettori also suggested that the Indian think tank must consider the option for the all-rounder as well. However, India have struggled for a proper No. 4 player in the T20 format over the last few seasons. They have tried many, including Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav and Shreyas Iyer but they haven’t been able to decide on one name yet.
During a discussion on ESPNcricinfo, he said: “If you can fit him in at No. 4, I think, go for it. That’s the perfect position for him. You don’t want to take anything away from the likes of Suryakumar Yadav. But, if this option is there, it will be great. As of now, though, it feels like he’s going to slot into No.5, with Pant potentially dropping down to six.”
While talking about Hardik Pandya’s success at the No. 4 position in IPL 2022, former India batter Sanjay Manjrekar has credited the brains behind the move. He added: “Whoever made that call, we’ve got to compliment them, because there was no prior evidence that Hardik is a No. 4 batter. This is a guy who has some pedigree as a Test player as well. Even in Australia, in white-ball cricket, when he turned up as a pure batter, he was impressive. He has been one of the very few players in the IPL who has been able to play in the gear needed for those situations.”
Hardik Pandya has scored 487 runs in 15 games which came at an average of 44.27 and a strike rate of 131.27. With his medium pace, he claimed eight wickets as well, with his best of 3-17 in the IPL 2022 final against Rajasthan Royals (RR) as well.
He further added: “Five matches into the IPL, you could see that he was comfortable there. Sometimes when the cameras are on, these guys know what kind of demeanour to carry. This guy was genuinely relaxed. He almost enjoyed the leadership. That tells you a lot about Hardik, but nobody saw that coming.”