Before the Asia Cup 2022 competition and the next T20 World Cup in October, India has checked off every box, even the one that gave them the most problems at the last World Cup in the UAE. The 28-year-old India star was praised by former India head coach Ravi Shastri as “one of the most crucial gears in the wheel” for the balance he brings to the line-up before Team India’s departure for the Asia Cup in the UAE.

In an interview with Star Sports on Tuesday, Shastri praised India all-rounder Hardik Pandya profusely and highlighted his significance to the playing XI for his country. He acknowledged that the Indian squad would lose its balance if Hardik was eliminated from the lineup.

As far as India is concerned, he (Pandya) is one of the most significant gears in the wheel, according to Shastri. “When you remove him from the team, the equilibrium is lost. He is that significant. You’re unsure of whether to add another bowler or batsman to your team.

In the T20 World Cup last year, Hardik was a member of the Indian team, but he only played as a batter, which threw off their balance and prevented them from having a second bowling option. It turned out to be one of the main factors in India’s disappointing campaign in the UAE last October, with the group-stage elimination of the squad.

“When he was unable to bowl at the (T20) World Cup last year, we truly missed him. There is a significant difference. When it comes to the talent he has at that number, no one comes close to him. I believe he is a very crucial player who has to be properly monitored. With the number of matches coming up, he is the last person you want to play in all those matches,” Shastri added.