The former Pakistan head coach Mickey Arthur, under whom Pakistan won the ICC Champions Trophy title in 2017, reckons when Hardik Pandya is available for India and he is fit enough to contribute with both bat and ball, it seems as if the Indian team is playing with 12 players, rather than 11.
According to Mickey Arthur, it’s not that Hardik is a batting or bowling allrounder who specializes in one department of the game and contributes a little bit in the other department. He is actually a genuine allrounder who is capable of contributing equally well in both departments of the game.
Mickey Arthur, who was speaking on ESPNcricinfo, said when he watches Hardik Pandya play for India, he tends to recall his time as the head coach of South Africa when Jacques Kallis was a similar sort of option for him in white ball cricket. Kallis, like Hardik, was also a top 5 batsman and a top 5 bowler.
"Hardik Pandya in the side means it's almost like India are playing with 12 players. It reminds me of my time back in South Africa when we had Jacques Kallis." – Mickey Arthur
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Arthur reckons that it’s not just Hardik’s game that has developed over the years, but he has matured as a person too, which is reflected in his leadership in the IPL earlier this year. Hardik, during IPL 2022, captained in top-level professional cricket for the first time in his career and took Gujarat Titans to the IPL title in the first go itself.
Apart from Hardik Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja was also crucial for India: Mickey Arthur
Talking about the recent India Vs Pakistan game which took place in the Asia Cup 2022, Arthur said that apart from Hardik’s contribution in that game, Ravindra Jadeja also played a key role for India as he was the reason why the Pakistan captain Babar Azam couldn’t use the 4th over of Mohammad Nawaz in the middle phase of the innings and he had to use that over at the end.
Although Nawaz dismissed Ravindra Jadeja on the first ball of the 20th over, Hardik smashed the 4th ball of the over for a six to finish the game off.