Looking into Hardik Pandya’s Go Slow Approach: IPL 2022

Hardik Pandya has dropped his strike-rate as his batting position rose to number four in the side.

Captaincy can weigh on a batter and reduce their strike-rates, and it looks like the same is happening to Hardik Pandya. Hardik Pandya is known for his big hits as white-ball destroyer, and can walk into a team for his batting alone. He also has the ability to bat through an innings, and has a wide range of shots which show that he can take his time as he is doing this season.

He started as a fearless striker of the ball taking on the best of bowlers and looking the least bothered against bowlers who were bad match-ups. Hardik Pandya rose to fame with a spectacular fifty overshadowing Kieron Pollard in a partnership back in 2015 and has done the job for his side on numerous occasions.

He has a strong bottom-hand, has emulated Dhoni’s helicopter shot with ease, and can take down the yorker with ease. This season though, Hardik Pandya has started slow. In four games he has been batting with a strike-rate of 122. A notable change is that Hardik Pandya is batting up the order, giving him more time to bat. He is looking to take the game deep as the Gujarat Titans do not bat too deep. With Hardik Pandya looking to play out a few overs, he is curbing his fearless self and focusing more on his wristy shots, which are effective but not what Hardik Pandya is known for.

He made a 42 ball 50 against Sunrisers batting first taking the innings deep, but couldn’t accelerate in the end resulting in a score that was a touch lower than needed. With the Mumbai Indians, Hardik Pandya had a monstrous batting line-up around him allowing him to bat with the sole focus of taking down attacks. That sort of clarity is missing here as the batting lacks experience now.

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In Shubman Gill, GT has a young opener. The middle-order has Sai Sudarshan and Abhinav Manohar, who are in their first seasons as well, and that is why Pandya is looking to steer his team through the innings rather than force the innings to go faster.

While the batting line-up and team composition is a factor, there is not much that can be done to solve the issue. Gujarat Titans do not have too many options on the bench which is why Pandya is batting at four while David Miller handles the finishing role along with Rahul Tewatia.

With the tournament getting into its middle stages, the surfaces will be a little more tired. Hardik Pandya is a murderer of spin and with more spinners likely to come into play he may have to change his approach in the middle. He is a batter who can bat with freedom and take the game deep when needed, but for now, by batting with freedom he may allow the others to have some more freedom out in the middle.

His idea of batting deep seems new, but Pandya seems willing to do so for his team’s cause. The move has some weight behind it, but it may not be Hardik Pandya’s best style and reverting to his best style of play may help Gujarat go from a good side to a great side in the tournament.