Former Indian cricketer Irfan Pathan reckons that present Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya is yet to prove his match-winning capabilities which he implied from the fact that he is not in the top 10 rankings in any format. Pathan's statement came while praising England all-rounder Ben Stokes who recently became the No.1 all-rounder in Test cricket.
Pathan, during an interview with cricket.com, said that Stokes has earned the spot by winning matches for England. He further wished for such all-rounders for Team India.
Pathan said,” Ben Stokes has become No. 1 all-rounder in the world by winning matches for England. I wish for Team India to have an all-rounder who wins games for India. Yuvraj Singh was a kind of guy who was a match-winner. Having an all-rounder in the team is a different thing and I am talking about purely in Test cricket.”
Pathan then opined that if Pandya can prove his abilities it will have an immense impact on Indian cricket and make the side invincible.
“Unfortunately, Hardik Pandya is not in top 10 in any format of the game for India. He has the potential, there is no doubt about it. If he has that calibre of an allrounder who can win matches for India, Indian cricket team will be invincible. The Indian cricket team is way better than the rest in the world," he added.
“We have guys like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul. We have such immensely talented cricketers like Mohd Shami, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma. We have Ashwin, two wrist spinners and Ravindra Jadeja for that matter but if we have that one piece which can put everyone together- that’s an all-rounder. We have tried Vijay Shankar and some new would also come in future. I am simply saying India need a match-winning all-rounder”.
Pathan further explained his opinion saying that England had claimed their maiden World Cup title last year solely because of the presence of Stokes.
“Look, England won the World Cup because of that one all-rounder. England had other players in the team as well but one match-winning all-rounder took the team to another level. Why we still talk about the 1983 Indian Team, because it had Kapil Dev who won the matches singlehandedly. If he had not won the match singlehandedly against Zimbabwe, we might not have won the 1983 World Cup. That’s what I want. I want my Indian team to be invincible,” he said.