Team India’s limited overs opener Shikhar Dhawan said on Thursday the fast-bowling all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who is under fire for his remarks on women, was crucial for the team’s balance. However, the Delhi batsman rejected the suggestions that Indian team was struggling for a fifth bowler in the ongoing ODI series against Australia.
Speaking to the media on the eve of the series decider third and final One Day International against Australia, Dhawan also came in support of young pacers Khaleel Ahmed and Mohammed Siraj after the duo failed to impress in the first two matches.
“The balance that Hardik (Pandya) creates when he’s in the team is very crucial for our team,” Dhawan acknowledged.
“Even when Kedar (Jadhav) plays, the overs of off-spin he bowls are very beneficial for us…I would say he is our golden arm, and he always takes wickets when he comes on. So often, he’s broken a big partnership. An all-rounder in Tests and limited-overs’ cricket is equally important,” Dhawan added.
Talking about Ahmed and Siraj, the 33-year-old said the youngsters would mature and get better with time.
“It’s not a worry (about the bowling). They just came in. They are young blokes. We will back them. That’s how they’re going to learn, when they play against a good side,” the Delhi batsman said.
“If they go for runs, that’s where they have to lift themselves up and think more about their game and strategies. That’s how they’ll become more mature players. It’s good that they are getting chances over here,” Dhawan added.
India and Australia will next take on each other on Friday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the last match of the ongoing three-match ODI series. Currently, the ongoing ODI series is levelled at 1-1.