Priority should be Team India, not Hardik Pandya: Irfan Pathan

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya has found the going tough so far in IPL 2024. File photo: IANS

New Delhi: Former seamer Irfan Pathan has insisted that Indian cricket must stop obsessing over Hardik Pandya's worth as an all-rounder at international level, saying he has failed to create an impact in ICC tournaments.

The Mumbai Indians captain is battling poor form this IPL season, raising questions about his inclusion in India's T20 World Cup squad, which is to be announced soon.

"What I feel about Hardik Pandya is that Indian cricket needs to make it clear that they should not give him that much priority as they have given him so far, because we still haven't won the World Cup," Pathan said on Star Sports Press Room Show, Ticket to World Cup.

"If you think you are a primary all-rounder, you need to make that kind of an impact at the international level. As far as the all-rounder is concerned he hasn't made that impact at the international level, we are only thinking about the potential."

The former left-arm seamer observed that there is a "big difference" between performance in the IPL and international cricket, and advised Pandya to play throughout the year instead of "picking" tournaments.

"We are getting confused between the IPL performances and the international performances. That's a big difference. First of all, he needs to play throughout the year. He cannot pick and choose.

"Indian cricket needs to stop doing that. Stop giving preferences to individuals, if you do that, you will not be winning major tournaments.

"What Australia has been doing for many years is that they are actually preferring the team game. Making everyone a superstar. Not one superstar, everybody is a superstar in the squad. If you don't do that, you will not win big tournaments."

Pathan also opined on problems around finishers and the team's pace bowling unit.

"This is what I'm really scared about when it comes to the World Cup. Look, my worry is with the T20 World Cup, we are pretty much sorted as far as the top-order batting is concerned. We are pretty much sorted in the middle-overs as well.

"If we're thinking Ravindra Jadeja is a No. 7 batter, you need a good finisher. His numbers are not that great as far as the strike-rate is concerned at the international level. So, there is a worry for me there and the fast bowling.

"Apart from (Jasprit) Bumrah, if I look at the guys playing in IPL, played before the IPL in the South Africa series, their numbers are not that great -- be that it's Arshdeep (Singh), be that it's Mohammed Siraj, you know, the guys who played last.

"So these two departments, it really makes me worry. These are the departments that are going to be very, very crucial," Pathan said. 

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