'Hasn't bowled even six overs per game' - ex India star questions Hardik Pandya's bowling workload

The form and the year-long struggles of India's premier fast-bowling allrounder have been a cause of worry on the outside prior to the 2023 World Cup. 
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Hardik Pandya is given his due credit and acknowledgement as one of the world's premier fast-bowling all-rounders. But the cricketer's year-long struggles in either department have paved ways for worries about his game and questions based on his form leading into the pivotal two months for Indian cricket, headlined by the 2023 World Cup

Pandya, who made an inspirational return to India colours last year after undergoing sustained strife following a back surgery, has found irregular game time as a white-ball specialist a major detriment to his freeflowing game with the bat in hand. 

On top of it, the earnest cricketer has also taken a lesser workload with the ball. A byproduct of the equivalent return of spin allrounder Ravindra Jadeja from injuries and the rise of Jadeja's capable replacement option Axar Patel to partner him for the fifth-bowler's duties and partly down to Pandya personally reserving his energies for the coming marquee assignments, including also the Asia Cup 2023. 

Aakash Chopra on Hardik Pandya's struggles

Yet, the numbers tell the tale of a key player suffering from loss of form and enduring a dip in his consistency. Since the beginning of the year, Pandya has struck just 280 runs across 10 ODI innings and made only 188 of those from just as many innings in T20Is. At the same time, the medium pacer has delivered only 57.4 overs in ODIs and 35.0 overs in T20Is. 

Former India opener Aakash Chopra reckons this workload is quite insignificant as in the pertaining context of ODIs, Hardik Pandya has delivered just close to six overs per game in the 50-overs Indian attack. 

Speaking on his YouTube channel, Chopra focused on Pandya's India-specific stats in the given period and said just 198 runs and six overs per game aren't enough for the cricketer to make a healthy contribution to the side and doesn't inspire great confidence heading into a home World Cup. 

"Hardik Pandya - he has played eight ODIs (at home) if we talk about the last one year," Chopra said. "He has scored 198 runs, including a half-century, and picked up nine wickets. So he takes nearly a wicket a game and has bowled 44 overs. So he hasn't bowled even six overs per game, which is not a great thing."

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"If you see from India's viewpoint, you expect more bowling from him or you need more from him. So, he is given the new ball at times. He has played 215 balls, so he plays 25-30 balls per match. He is doing a job, which is not a bad thing at all. So his name should be there in the all-rounders' list."

Notably, however, the dip in Pandya's bowling workload is a result of his gradual progression to being India's No.6 batter after spending the first four years of his career as the designated No.7 and the fifth-bowling option. Even in the current scenario, he has chipped in with a wicket apiece per innings, bagging 10 scalps at a manageable allrounder's economy rate of 5.91.