Team India will play the first T20I of the five-match series against South Africa later tonight in Delhi. India’s best wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, as well as all-rounder Hardik Pandya, make their comebacks in the shortest format. Pandya last played for India in the T20 World Cup last year and hasn’t played since due to injury. The 28-year-old, however, rediscovered his form in the 2022 Indian Premier League, guiding the Gujarat Titans to victory.

Former India spinner Ashish Nehra, who was the head coach of the Titans side that won the IPL title last month, spoke with Pandya about his T20I return against South Africa. According to Nehra, Pandya has the potential to be India’s all-rounder based only on his batting talents.

“We often debate whether Hardik Pandya will be able to bowl. Pandya, in my view, is a hitter who can play in every format, even Test matches. But we’re discussing T20s here.” It is self-evident that if he bowls, India would profit “On Cricbuzz, Nehra remarked.

According to the former Indian bowler, Hardik Pandya could be used as a sixth bowler, and there should be no pressure on him to bowl out his four-over quota.

“Hardik Pandya is essential in India’s present setup since none of their top-order batsmen can bowl. Hardik Pandya is often used as a fifth-bowler. If he’s in good form, he should bowl. Hardik, on the other hand, should not be required to bowl four overs every game. “You have to play five bowlers and Hardik Pandya as a sixth bowler,” Nehra said.