Pandya hasn’t played in a test since 2018 and decided not to participate in the five-day format because of physical issues.
But Ponting thinks Pandya could play in the title match at the Oval from June 7-11. Primarily because he has bowled in virtually every match of the just-concluded IPL for the Gujarat Titans team he leads.
…I was thinking the other day about how valuable someone like Hardik Pandya can be to India in this game in a one-off Test match, Ponting wrote in an ICC review.
I know he has gone on record as saying that playing in a Test match is probably a bit tough on his body. But for a one-off match…he bowled in every game in the IPL and played fast. The former Australia captain, who is also the head coach of Delhi Capitals in the IPL, said Pandya could be an X-factor for the Indian team in the WTC final, which begins June 7.
He (Pandya) could be the X-factor that you could pick in one game, go in and see what he can do with the bat and the ball. He could be the difference between the two teams. Pandya, 29, has played in 11 games since making his debut in 2017, scoring 532 points with a 31.29 average with one hundred and four fifties. He has taken 17 wickets at an average of 31.05.
In the 74 ODIs he has played so far, Pandya has scored 1,584 runs at an average of 33.00 and taken 72 wickets. In T20Is he has scored 1,271 runs in 87 matches and taken 69 wickets.
Pandya led Gujarat Titans to their first triumph in the IPL in 2022 but on Monday lost to Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings team in this season finale.