In the lead-up to the highly anticipated Asia Cup final clash between India and Sri Lanka, former Indian cricketer Mohammad Kaif had nothing but praise for the versatile all-rounder, Hardik Pandya, whom he hailed as the backbone of the national team.
Kaif highlighted Hardik's pivotal role in shaping crucial matches with his dynamic contributions, both with the bat and the ball.
Hardik Pandya is a match-winner: Mohammad Kaif
“When India faced a precarious situation against Pakistan, Hardik Pandya stepped up and delivered an outstanding performance, scoring a crucial 87 runs while forming a vital partnership with Ishan Kishan. In our second encounter with Pakistan, he claimed the prized wicket of Babar Azam. Hardik Pandya is a match-winner through and through. When the team faces adversity, he emerges as the savior, rescuing his side from challenging situations,” Kaif expressed during an interview on Star Sports.
“Whenever the top-order falters, Hardik Pandya rises to the occasion and plays match-winning innings. In my view, he is the backbone of this Indian team,” Kaif said.
Kaif also turned his attention to Jasprit Bumrah's remarkable return to the Indian squad and his impressive performance in the ongoing Asia Cup, suggesting that this could have a significant impact on the team's preparations for the 2023 ODI World Cup.
Memorable win, memorable tournament! Congratulations to the entire team on a wonderful performance 🇮🇳 Champions of Asia 🏆 pic.twitter.com/SINILLeoOE— hardik pandya (@hardikpandya7) September 17, 2023
“Despite returning to the field after a prolonged injury layoff, Bumrah has shown no signs of rustiness. He is consistently taking wickets, maintaining his pace, which is a tremendously positive sign for the Indian team. It's heartening to see players returning from injuries, whether it's Bumrah or KL Rahul, performing at such a high level. Bumrah's current form will undoubtedly boost India's confidence as they gear up for the World Cup,” Kaif observed.
Furthermore, Kaif expressed his delight at the stellar batting performances of young opener Shubman Gill, particularly in the context of a multi-national tournament like the Asia Cup.
“In a tournament featuring teams from various nations, it's never easy to accumulate runs. However, Shubman Gill has showcased his prowess by playing shots with finesse. He possesses the ability to maximize boundaries, especially on spin-friendly tracks, and adapts his game skillfully against the new ball. Gill's emergence as a formidable player is a delightful development for Indian cricket,” Kaif added.
As the cricketing world watches with bated breath, these insights from Mohammad Kaif underscore the crucial contributions of Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah's remarkable return, and the rising star of Shubman Gill, all of which are factors that could shape India's fortunes in the future.