Hardik Pandya will be a different player in World Cup: Gavaskar

Mumbai, Apr 30 (PTI) Legendary India cricketer Sunil Gavaskar feels there is no reason to get overly worried about Hardik Pandya’s bowling form going into the T20 World Cup, saying the all-rounder will be a “different player” in national colours.

Pandya was retained as vice-captain of the 15-member squad announced by the BCCI on Tuesday despite his ordinary form for Mumbai Indians in the ongoing IPL.

The MI captain has scored 197 runs and taken just four wickets in 10 games with his team languishing in ninth spot.

“There’s a big difference playing in the IPL and playing for your country. Playing for your country brings out something different in every player and Hardik Pandya will be a different player,” said Gavaskar on Sports Today.

“He’s had to face a lot of issues in this particular tournament (IPL), he’s handled it quite well. When he goes overseas and has to play for India, I think he will be in a completely different frame of mind.

“And that’s going to be a much more positive frame of mind than maybe what we have seen here in this tournament. So, Hardik Pandya will make a contribution with both bat and ball in this tournament,” added Gavaskar.

Pandya was booed in the initial few IPL matches after he took over the Mumbai Indians captaincy from Rohit Sharma, who has guided the franchise to five titles.

Gavaskar also felt, this Indian side has the capability to bring back the World Cup.

“They are title contenders, without a question. At the international level, sometimes you need a bit of luck and if this Indian team has just that little bit of luck, then I’m very confident that after 2007 (triumph), the T20 World Cup will come back to India.”

The former India skipper felt all the players would be perfectly conditioned going into the mega event given that they would have played a lot of cricket in the IPL.

“They’ll go with good rhythm (following the IPL); the bowlers would have bowled a fair bit of overs, the batters will have enough time out in the middle, some of them would have scored 80s, 90s 100s.

“So, clearly, this team will go with that little break… a week break (between the conclusion of IPL and start of the World Cup). With that little break, they will be a little bit refreshed, but at the same time not rusty.”

The IPL ends on May 26 while India play their first World Cup match against Ireland in New York on June 5.

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