Mickey Arthur says India are playing with 12 players with Hardik Pandya in the roster 

Hardik Pandya played an all-round role for India in their win over Pakistan last Sunday

Former international coach Mickey Arthur has heaped rich praise on star India all-rounder Hardik Pandya, who played an important role in their victory against arch-rivals Pakistan in the first match of the Asia Cup 2022 competition played in Dubai last Sunday. 

Mickey Arthur, who has had successful coaching stints with international sides such as South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the past and is currently operating in the English county circuit, says that with Hardik Pandya in the playing XI, it looks like the Indian cricket team takes the field with 12 players in the side.

The renowned coach has also gone as far as claiming that Hardik Pandya is in the same league as legendary South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, whose extraordinary numbers across formats with both bat and the ball made him one of the rare players in the history of the sport to be as successful as he was.

“Hardik Pandya in the side means it’s almost like India are playing with 12 players. It reminds me of my time back in South Africa when we had Jacques Kallis. You have a guy who can be one of your four seamers and bat in your top-five,”

Mickey Arthur told ESPNCricinfo. 

“I have seen Hardik mature and mature and his leadership in the last IPL was outstanding. He managed his team very well and played so well under pressure,” Arthur added.

Ever since he has returned from a long injury break that he suffered in the previous Asia Cup 2018 encounter against Pakistan, India’s Hardik Pandya has been on an unstoppable spree of splendid performances with both bat and the ball in shorter formats of cricket to make a name for himself all over the world.

With his new-found confidence and ability to handle extreme pressure with tremendous ease, Hardik Pandya has shown that he has all the abilities to play a vital role for India in the upcoming T20 World Cup to be played later this year in Australia.

On Sunday, in the contest against Pakistan, Hardik Pandya was instrumental in helping India bull their opponent out for just 147 and 19.5 overs with a 3-wicket burst which was possible due to his exemplary and accurate use of short ball bowling, something that proved to be too hot to handle for the Pakistani batsmen.

And later in the game, when his side was in a hole, not able to move decisively towards the target of 148, Hardik Pandya came out all guns blazing to smack an unbeaten 33 from just 17 balls to help India cross the finish line with 5 wickets in hand. 

Hardik Pandya finished the game with a splendid six on the leg side — something that will remain etched in the memories of Indian cricket fans in particular.