Hardik Pandya has the ability to take the game away from the opposition in the whiff of a breath, said India wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik on the star all-rounder's expertise ahead of the T20 World Cup. Karthik labelled the Indian camp as favourite to win the trophy, highlighting the staggering reservoir of talent available at the team management's disposal.
While the T20 spectacle begins on October 17 with a Round 1 Group B match between hosts Oman and Papua New Guinea, India, part of Group 2 in Super 12, will open their campaign against Pakistan on October 24. Speaking about India's chances at the tournament in the UAE, Karthik said that the Men in Blue will breeze into the semi-final.
“I think it is 14 years that have gone by. it’s very interesting to know that it has been that long. I think that also means 14 seasons of IPL, so basically, we have a lot of T20 experience in that team.
"Every guy there has played 150, if not 200 matches of T20, which should give them enough data to take from every time they had a big moment, and that’s what you require, experience to handle those big moments and hence I have no doubt that they will qualify to the semi-finals. The question is, on that big day – like it happened a few years ago in Bombay – somebody turns up and does well," Karthik told Star Sports.
India had clinched the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup back in 2007 by defeating Pakistan in the summit clash. West Indies, who have won the trophy twice (2012 and 2016), will line up as the defending champions of the marquee tournament. Pandya may have not lived up to expectations lately, but Karthik feels the Baroda all-rounder can come up with performances in all three departments.
"There are a lot of key players, but I would like to single out this man, who is in the middle of it all – Hardik Pandya. He bats at No.6, he has a job to do every time he comes in, he has the potential to take the game away in the whiff of a breath, that's how good he is. So, again with the ball, he is very good with it, he is very handy, he can bowl at 85-87 mph, but also mix in the slower ones.
"Over the period of time, he has shown the mind – what’s between your ears they say – to be very strong, very calculated and he is somebody who can come and deliver on slow wickets very well, and that’s one of his strengths, so I am looking forward to him as a gun fielder as well – we’ve got a few good fielders there. So, yeah, I think India has it in them overall. Fingers crossed, they go all the way.” he signed off.