Chopra highlighted how the talismanic all-rounder has made a stunning comeback after working hard on his fitness. He opined that Pandya is the most valuable player for the Men in Blue in white-ball cricket.
The cricketer-turned-commentator suggested that India cannot think of playing limited-overs cricket without having Pandya in the side. Speaking on his YouTube channel, he said:
"Hardik Pandya had to be taken off the field on a stretcher in 2018. I was covering the game, but it seemed as if I had lost my voice looking at what had happened. You don't want this to happen to any player.
"He didn't bowl during the T20 World Cup and then took a break to work on his fitness. He has made a thumping return and I believe he is India's most valuable player. India may still be fine without Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, or Japsrit Bumrah, but not without Hardik in white-ball cricket."
Pandya injured his back while bowling during the Asia Cup in 2018 against Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium. His life came to a full circle as he powered India to a thrilling five-wicket victory against the same opposition at the venue four years later.
"Don't think Hardik Pandya will play a major role in this game" - Aakash Chopra on India's Asia Cup 2022 clash against Hong Kong
India will take on Hong Kong in the fourth match of the ongoing continental event on Wednesday, August 31, in Dubai.
Chopra believes that while Pandya will still feature in the playing XI, he might not get much to do in the clash. The former cricketer mentioned that the all-rounder might not bat or bowl in the fixture. He added:
"I don't think Hardik Pandya will play a major role in this game. He will just be there in the playing XI, but won't have much to do in both batting and bowling."
Rohit Sharma and Co. will qualify for the Super Fours if they manage to secure a victory against Hong Kong.