IND vs WI 2022: Salman Butt on Hardik Pandya’s stellar return to international cricket

Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt reckons Team India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has returned to international cricket a fitter player after overcoming his injury and problems of form.

The 28-year-old was dropped from the Indian team last year after the Men in Blue’s surprise exit from the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. He struggled for form and the fact that he didn’t bowl often affected the team’s balance.

The tide turned for Pandya during a memorable IPL 2022 campaign. He not only led the Gujarat Titans (GT) to victory in their first IPL season, but also made significant contributions with stick and ball. He has been brilliant for India since his comeback.

Sharing his thoughts on the all-rounder’s impressive return to the big stage, Butt said on his YouTube channel:

“Hardik Pandya is someone that India is betting on a lot. You trust his abilities. He has returned fitter after an injury. Everyone has seen his ability and he has performed really well for India over the years.

“He had some fitness issues and a slump in form. But since recovering from those problems he has been making runs and winning wickets as well. He also looks physically stronger.”

Hardik Pandya said: “When the captain and coach give you the freedom to play your game, that automatically gives you confidence.”

Pandya was named Player of the Series for his all-around brilliance during the ODIs in England. He hit 100 runs in three matches and claimed six scalps.

“An outstanding spell” – Salman Butt on Hardik Pandya’s economic bowling in the 3rd T20I

While Pandya was sent off for four in Tuesday’s (2 August) third T20I against West Indies, he was great with the ball earlier in the day. He registered numbers of one for 19 in four overs and claimed the deciding wicket from Brandon King.

Butt praised the all-rounder for his impressive magic, saying:

“In the middle overs in T20s, batting sides are trying to gain momentum and build on their platform. If you can claim a few wickets while only giving around 20 runs, you’ve done a great job.

“In this case, 19 runs and one wicket, that was an outstanding performance (by Hardik). This is the period where West Indies only scored about 40 runs in seven overs and was badly dented.”

The former Pakistani skipper says since Pandya’s return to the Indian team he has shown why he is considered one of the best all-rounders in white ball cricket.

Concluding his thoughts on the Baroda cricketer, he said:

“India was waiting for his return as his inclusion improves the balance of the team. He offers a wicket-taking option in the middle and is a match-winning batsman.

After Pandya played a key role in restricting West Indies to 164 for five in the third T20I, Suryakumar Yadav smashed a 44-ball 76 to lead the visitors to a seven-wicket win.

Edited by Renin Wilben Albert IND vs WI 2022: Salman Butt on Hardik Pandya’s stellar return to international cricket

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