Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya has scripted a unique record in T20I post India’s victory over the West Indies in the 3rd encounter of their ongoing five-match series. He is now the only Indian after female cricketer Deepti Sharma to have taken 50 scalps and scored more than 500 runs in T20I. The 28-year-old Pandya, post India’s win, commented that his injury was plaguing his bowling for quite some time, but now he seems to be at ease with the ball again.

Pandya was the one to break the deadlock during the West Indies innings where opener Brandon King and Kyle Mayers scripted a 50-run partnership. The Choryasi, Gujarat native bowled out King, who had by then scored 20 in as many balls.

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Pandya, after the match, opined, “I used to be a filler in between when someone is not bowling well. I can probably say I can bowl four overs now as a third seamer or a fourth seamer where I can contribute equally as I do with the bat”.

Even Ravi Shastri, former coach of the men’s Indian cricket team, echoed Pandya’s view in an interview with FanCode. Shastri said that he always wanted someone in the team’s batting order top-six to be able to bowl, but this could not be managed with Pandya’s injury. ” It cost India a couple of World Cups. Because we didn’t have anyone who could bowl in the top six”, Shastri added.

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Pandya continued to say that he understands that his performance with the ball can be crucial to the team, providing it the required balance (which Shastri insisted on during his time as head coach), and also gives confidence to the skipper.

With the T20I World Cup scheduled to commence from October 16, India’s fate will considerably depend on Pandya’s performance with the bat and the ball. The Asia Cup will also kick off from August 27 where India will face Pakistan in their first match of the tournament (August 28).