Who will replace Hardik Pandya for New Zealand clash in CWC 2023?

Hardik Pandya, the vice-captain and the all-rounder of Team India, has been ruled out of the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023 match against New Zealand on Sunday, in a statement released by BCCI, on Friday, October 20. The 30-year-old had suffered a left ankle injury a day prior, while fielding off his own bowling his first over against Bangladesh, at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune.

The BCCI Medical Team took Hardik Pandya for scans, which revealed the extent of the left ankle injury, prompting the doctors to advise him to rest. It led to the team management deciding to give their vice-captain a break while revealing that he won’t be travelling to Dharamsala with the team for the match against New Zealand in the ODI World Cup 2023, instead, he will join the team directly in Lucknow, where India will play England next Sunday, October 29.

In the aftermath of the unfortunate injury to the all-rounder, the Indian cricket team will be forced to make a change in their playing XI for the next match. In this feature article, SportsTiger looks at three players who could replace Hardik Pandya for the New Zealand clash, on Sunday, October 22, in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023.

Ravichandran Ashwin

Ravichandran Ashwin, the bowling all-rounder, has already played a key part for India in their comprehensive seven-wicket win in the ODI World Cup 2023 opener against Australia. At the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, the 37-year-old was drafted into the playing XI, to take advantage of the spinning conditions, which he did in an exemplary manner, picking up the key wicket of Cameron Green in the third powerplay stage.

With figures of 1-34 in his 10 overs, including a maiden, Ravichandran Ashwin came good on the promise shown by the captain Rohit Sharma and the team management, which could lead him to replace Hardik Pandya in the playing XI against New Zealand.

Mohammed Shami

Mohammed Shami has been one of the best new ball bowlers in ODI cricket for years, with his ability to deviate the ball both ways off the seam from one spot on the pitch. The 33-year-old also became a better bowler in the first powerplay stage, picking up wickets for fun, with the help of metronomical spells from Jasprit Bumrah from the other end.  

Although Mohammed Shami isn’t a like-for-like replacement for Hardik Pandya, the Indian team management could find it hard to go into the New Zealand match in the ODI World Cup 2023 with just five recognised bowlers, which could persuade them to take the tough call.

Suryakumar Yadav

Suryakumar Yadav found his mojo in ODI cricket in the build-up to the flagship tournament, with a couple of fifties against Australia, to help the Indian cricket team secure a 2-1 series win. The 33-year-old is yet to play a match in the ODI World Cup 2023 from the 15-member squad, just like Mohammed Shami, but the injury to Hardik Pandya has opened up a spot in the playing XI.

India has been playing the likes of Shardul Thakur and Ravichandran Ashwin to bolster their lower middle order in ODI World Cup 2023, which suggests that Suryakumar Yadav might be the favourite to take the sport of Hardik Pandya in the playing XI against New Zealand to boost the batting lineup, irrespective of just five recognised bowlers in the team.

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