India vs Pakistan: Dale Steyn calls Hardik Pandya a ‘game changer’

Written by Sumit Seth

Former South Africa Dale Steyn has named an XI he would want India to field against Pakistan during their T20 World Cup opener on October 24 in Dubai. Steyn, along with VVS Laxman on Star Sports, ahead of the start of India’s warm-up tie against England, were asked to name India’s XI for the contest against Pakistan, with Laxman going first, and Steyn making just one change from the former India batsman’s list.

Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, 7 Ravindra Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy were Laxman’s picks for India’s XI against Pakistan, to which Steyn added: “I wouldn’t have been able to name it as perfectly as VVS but one change, I would bring in Shami ahead of Bhuvi, just on current form alone. Shami has been doing it quite nicely. Bhuvi is fantastic but on current form I would go with Shami in this side.”

As for the selection of Hardik Pandya, Steyn called the India all-rounder a ‘gamechanger’ while adding that Pandya merits a place in the XI due to his batting alone. Although Steyn agreed that Pandya not bowling remains an issue, the former quick backed the 28-year-old all-rounder’s batting skills to pose a threat for teams at the T20 World Cup.

“Look, he’s a game-changer. That’s the big thing. He is a gamechanger whether he’s got bat or ball in his hand, specifically with that bat actually. He hasn’t bowled a lot lately, at all to be honest. I would pick him purely on his batting alone,” Steyn added.

“After the current form that he has had, it’s a bit touch and go but he is a fantastic player. And teams will know that. So, when he comes out to bat, teams would have to prepare accordingly because Hardik Pandya can take the game away from you quite easily with the bat.”

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Sumit Seth