Hardik Pandya has been appointed as the vice-captain of Team India for the upcoming Asia Cup.
Former Australian cricketer Tom Moody said that flexibility is important in modern-day cricket and Team India may be required to throw someone like the all-rounder Hardik Pandya up the order. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Monday announced a strong 17-member squad for the upcoming Asia Cup which will begin on August 30 with Jasprit Bumrah, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul returning to the squad and Tilak Verma also getting a place in the team. Speaking exclusively to ESPNCricinfo, Moody spoke on Rohit Sharma’s statement concerning flexibility in the line-up.
“Well, I think in this day and age, whether it be 50-over cricket or 20-over cricket, you need to have an open mind. You need to be flexible, and we talk a lot about match-ups. At times, we talk too much about match-ups in the media, so I think that is where I think Rohit Sharma is coming from. You know, there may be a case where you might have a left-hander that is due to come out at number 6, then suddenly the opposition brings out a left-arm spinner or a leg spinner. So, therefore, that number 6 is going to be the next person to come into bat,” he said.
“Now, the thing that is really important from a team’s point of view, you have that flexibility and open mind, and I think that is what he was trying to articulate to the media there. Yes, there will be flexibility, but there are a couple of places that may not be moving because really the foundation of your innings needs to be concrete, you need stability there and role clarity there. But, you know, Hardik Pandya is an impact player. There may be a time you need to throw him up the order just to get the innings moving quicker than what it has been moving. So, all those tactical nuances, you need to have an open mind too,” he added.
Also, speaking exclusively to Star Sports, former India cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar also spoke about the flexibility of the Indian line-up.
“I will make a quick point though; let us not confuse flexibility, the kind of flexibility that I expect. For example, where I mentioned Virat Kohli as a number 4 to solve the problem with Ishan Kishan batting down the order, that is the kind of flexibility that I am talking about in the starting template. Now, what happens during the course of the match down the order at number 4, 5, 6; you have two spinners operating, turning a bit, then those kinds of moves are commonplace and something that you expect. Somebody like Hardik Pandya coming in and there is an off-spinner, or Jadeja coming up before left-arm spinner’s bowling, now those are okay.
“I think with the starting template or with the plan at the start of the game switching an important position. The whole debate really is about how your 4, 5, 6 are going to look. KL Rahul, I worry about the selection with this niggle; Shreyas Iyer more optimistic and both Ravi (Shastri) and myself when we talked about Virat Kohli at number 4, that’s the kind of flexibility I am talking about, not while the match is happening and just for a short time where somebody can tackle a particular bowler.”
The 2023 Asia Cup will be co-hosted by Pakistan and Sri Lanka with the tournament running from August 30 to September 17.
Asia Cup will serve as an important benchmark for India’s preparations for the World Cup starting in October and will also help selectors make choices for the marquee event.
India will open their Asia Cup campaign with an iconic clash against Pakistan on September 2 in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Star all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been appointed Rohit Sharma’s deputy in Asia Cup 2023.
The squad also marks the return of Jasprit Bumrah to ODI cricket after a gap of more than one year. After proving his fitness in the ongoing T20I series against Ireland, Bumrah is set to test himself in the 50-over format heading into the World Cup. India’s pace attack will be boosted by the return of Mohammed Siraj, who was not in the team for some time due to a sore ankle.
Tilak Varma made it to India’s Asia Cup squad on the back of his strong performance against West Indies during the tour that ended this month.
Bowling all-rounders Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel are also in the squad to give the captain more diversity in choices. Apart from Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja is also in the team as an all-rounder.
Pakistan, India and Nepal are in Group A while Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are in Group B. The tournament will follow a hybrid model with Pakistan hosting four matches across two venues and Sri Lanka hosting the remaining games.
The six group-stage matches will be followed by the Super Fours, beginning September 6.
The final will be played by the top two teams at the end of the Super Fours on September 17 in Colombo.
Squad:Rohit Sharma (captain), Shubman Gill, Virat Kohli, Shreyas Iyer, KL Rahul, Suryakumar Yadav, Tilak Varma, Ishan Kishan, Hardik Pandya (vice-captain), Ravindra Jadeja, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammad Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.