Fast bowling all-rounders in Indian cricket are hard to find and that too someone who can match the abilities of Hardik Pandya’s. This is why Indian cricket needs to preserve such kind of players as they can play a crucial role for India both with the bat and ball.
But such has been the predicament of Indian cricket with Hardiks Pandya's calibre has mostly been in and out of the Indian cricket team because of his injuries and the lack of another such all-rounder has dented India’s combination big time in the limited overs format.
There have been some players such as Vijay Shankar, Venkatesh Iyer, and Shivam Dube who have shown glimpses of being an all-rounder in both domestic cricket and IPL but their potential hasn’t been used to its fullest by the Indian management yet in International bilateral matches and whatever opportunities that have been given to these youngsters have been scattered.
This has been one of the glaring shortcomings of the Indian management in recent times according to former Indian opener and cricket analyst Akash Chopra, who has spoken on his YouTube channel about the lack of opportunities given to these all-rounders to find a potential replacement of Hardik Pandya.
The prime example of it has been the recently concluded series between India and Australia where despite being in the squad, Shivam Dubey didn’t even get a chance to feature in the five-match T20I series.
Akash Chopra said, “What you are saying is correct. How will it work out if your only aim in a bilateral series is to win? It won't work out as you are not trying anyone. It was my problem in this series (vs Australia), you didn't have a single bowler in the top six and a batter at No. 8."
He added, “What is the logic behind this we are talking about a scenario when Rohit (Sharma), (Virat) Kohli, Shubman (Gill), and KL Rahul are not there. It is a problem in my opinion because IPL will not do this job now."
The impact rule will make it even worse
Akash Chopra also emphasized that with the impact rule being introduced in IPL, it will get even more difficult to find such players like Hardik Pandya and teams can get an extra specialist bowler to fill up overs in a match which will eliminate the role of the Hardik Pandya kind of players.
He said, “IPL could have done this job earlier. It's not going to do it now. Let's make peace with it that once the Impact Player rule has come, why will Shivam Dube, Venkatesh Iyer, and Vijay Shankar get to bowl when you can play six bowlers?".