In what seems to be a big blow for Team India, star all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been ruled out of India’s next ODI World Cup 2023 match against New Zealand. Notably, the men in blue will lock horns with the Blackcaps in the fifth match of their ODI World Cup 2023 campaign at the HPCA Stadium in Dharamsala.
Meanwhile, it is also going to be a headache for the Indian team management to come up with a perfect replacement for Hardik Pandya in the all-important clash against the unbeaten Kiwis. With said that, here we’ll have a look at the 3 players who might replace Hardik Pandya in the playing XI of India against New Zealand.
Star middle-order batter Suryakumar Yadav recently gained his ODI form back in the three-match ODI series against Australia before the ODI World Cup 2023. He scored 130 runs in three matches of the ODI series with a brilliant average of 65 including two half-centuries, with 50 and unbeaten 72 runs, respectively.
He is more likely to replace all-rounder Hardik Pandya in the batting capacity for the next match of India against Tom Latham’s men.
The young wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan has amazed everyone with sensational batting form in ODIs of late; he looked in great touch during the Asia Cup 2023 and also smashed four consecutive half-centuries while batting in the middle order. Adding him to the playing XI could also provide an additional wicketkeeping option for Team India. He also played a good knock of 47 runs against Afghanistan while opening with Rohit Sharma.
So, there is also the chance that management might count on Ishan Kishan to replace Pandya in the next match of the men in blue.
The veteran off-spin all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin was added to the ODI World Cup 2023 squad of India at the last moment due to the sudden exclusion of Axar Patel due to an injury. He also played the first match against Australia at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Chennai. But, the 37-year-old has been benched after the first match as the management going ahead with Shardul Thakur in the playing XI.
So, Hardik Pandya’s absence might also create a need for a player who can contribute both with the bat and the ball; considering that, Ravichandran Ashwin could be a perfect like-to-like replacement for Hardik Pandya in the next game against the Kiwis.