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"He will be looking forward to the big World Cup" - Zaheer Khan names Hardik Pandya as the player to watch out for in IND vs SA 2022 series 

Zaheer Khan feels Hardik Pandya will have an eye on the T20 World Cup squad (Credit: Getty Images)
Zaheer Khan feels Hardik Pandya will have an eye on the T20 World Cup squad (Credit: Getty Images)

Former Indian pacer Zaheer Khan believes Hardik Pandya is the player to watch out for in the upcoming five-match T20I series against South Africa, starting June 9 in Delhi. The all-rounder is on the back of an exceptional title-winning Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign for the Gujarat Titans (GT).

The 28-year-old earned himself a recall to the national side for the first time since the 2021 T20 World Cup. He made himself unavailable due to fitness concerns.

Pandya underwent intense rehabilitation to get back to full fitness ahead of IPL 2022 and functioned as an all-rounder for the franchise in their maiden season.

Opining that Pandya will keep an eye on the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia at the end of the year, Zaheer Khan said on Cricbuzz:

"The key player from India for sure, only player comes to mind and that is Hardik Pandya. He's had a good run in the IPL and is coming off a high from those performances and the leadership qualities which he has shown. I'm sure he will be looking forward to the big World Cup later this year."
To everyone at @gujarat_titans, you’ve stuck by us players, backed us, and given us everything and more that we could’ve asked for. And for that, we are grateful🏆☺️🤗 https://t.co/KWmySdol4k

The Baroda cricketer is expected to don the role of the primary all-rounder in the playing XI. Head coach Rahul Dravid is also stated that they are looking at Hardik Pandya purely as an all-rounder.


"The players must be thinking 'I want to be there on that flight to Australia'" - Zaheer Khan

With the countdown to the 2022 T20 World Cup nearing, India have a slew of T20I assignments to draft the final squad. Bilateral series against the likes of South Africa, England, West Indies and Australia will give the management a brief idea about the contingent for the tournament.

Snapshots from #TeamIndia's training session ahead of the 1st T20I against South Africa.#INDvSA @Paytm https://t.co/wA8O1Xr0i7

Stating that the return of international cricket upon the culmination of the IPL is exciting, Zaheer Khan said:

"International cricket is back, that is something which is exciting. Now the whole focus is going to be on what happens in the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia. I'm really looking forward to it as well."

The 43-year-old added:

The players who are going to get the opportunity, they must be thinking along those lines as well. They must be thinking 'I want to be there on that flight to Australia'"

With the IPL out of the way, Team India will continue their preparations for the biggest prize in the shortest format with a home series against South Africa.

The Men In Blue are scheduled to take on the Proteas in the first T20I at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi on June 9.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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