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Klusener hails Hardik Pandya as one of the best pace-bowling all rounders; shares his view on WTC Final

In his first official interaction with the media after taking over the role of Tripura's coaching consultant, Lance Klusener spoke about the upcoming WTC Final between India and Australia, Hardik Pandya's allround talent and more.

Klusener hails Hardik Pandya as one of the best pace-bowling all rounders; shares his view on WTC Final snt
First Published Jun 3, 2023, 5:54 PM IST

Former South African great Lance Klusener, who rates Hardik Pandya as one of the best fast-bowling all-rounders, said on Saturday that he thinks the Indian may have given up on Test cricket a little too readily to manage his workload.

Pandya, who last played a Test for India in September 2018, has been plagued by ailments and is only able to play white-ball cricket, therefore he will not be participating in the next World Test Championship final against Australia.

"He (Pandya) is a fantastic cricketer, and if he can stay fit and continues to bowl 135+ kmph, he will always be challenging... as one of the best allrounders in the world," Klusener told reporters in a media interaction at the Calcutta Sports Journalists' Club.

Also read: WTC Final, IND vs AUS: Khawaja backs in-form Warner to perform against India and in the Ashes

Pandya disqualified himself by stating that it would not be "ethical" to fill the vacancy without even making a minimal contribution to India's progress towards the WTC final.

Asked if Pandya gave up on Test cricket a bit too easily, Klusener said, "Yes, possibly. Test cricket (is) always the pinnacle of testing where you are as a cricketer, and testing yourselves.

"Test cricket hasn't really changed much from way back but I also understand that times have moved on as well."

Klusener hails Hardik Pandya as one of the best pace-bowling all rounders; shares his view on WTC Final snt

A fast-bowling all-rounder, according to Klusener, is not a "dibbly-dobbler" but rather someone who can consistently bowl at 135 kph.

"Fast bowling allrounders need to be bowling 135+. I don't think there would be some dibbly-dobblers that we used to see in England, I don't think all that (is) effective anymore. I honestly believe that a guy like Ben Stokes who bowls 135+, those people are still gold in any form of the game," said Klusener, a member of the 1999 ODI World Cup team that had a heartbreak loss to Australia in the semi-final.

But in the modern era, handling the three formats has contributed to the demise of the fast-bowling allrounder. Klusener, though, is convinced that it will happen again.

"I always think it goes in cycles. When I played, there were a lot of fast-bowling allrounders... then we kind of saw the allrounders bowling spin. Certainly at this point in time, I don't see as many fast-bowling allrounders, I just think it's a cycle. We might just see in the next five years those kinds of cricketers coming through again. If we manage the workloads correctly there is a lot of cricket, there's still a place for them in any team," the SA great added.

Klusener hails Hardik Pandya as one of the best pace-bowling all rounders; shares his view on WTC Final snt

India's batting vs Australia's bowling in WTC final

It will be horses for courses for India in the World Tennis Championship final versus Australia, which will start at The Oval on June 7. According to Klusener, India is well-equipped to field a pace- or spin-heavy team.

"Spin has been India's strength traditionally. They have the attack that can play on any surface," he said, when asked whether India should go for two spinners or one pace-bowling allrounder in Shardul Thakur," he said.

Also Read: WTC Final: Australia's Labuschagne believes long county spell will help him against India, Ashes

"The way the Indian seamers have developed in the last couple of years -- a reason why they play in successive WTC finals, that's why they are one of the best Test sides in the world. Teams in the past would prepare green tops so India won't be able to compete, but that's not the case anymore. I think they are now well equipped, whatever the conditions, they will be able to pick the team that will be competitive," Klusener added.

Asked about his favourite team to win the WTC final, the South African said, "It's a tough call. The battle will be between Australia's bowlers and India's batters, the team that wins that battle will come out on top," he said.

Klusener hails Hardik Pandya as one of the best pace-bowling all rounders; shares his view on WTC Final snt

Klusener on Faf du Plessis IPL 2023 season

Countryman Faf du Plessis, who had another successful IPL season and finished second on the run-getters' list behind Shubman Gill, also received high accolades from Klusener.

"Just hats off to Faf for staying fit and for being hungry, contributing in the best T20 competition in the world (for RCB). He's going to Big Bash (League) now... plays as much as he can. It's phenomenal at this age for him to have the fire inside him, we need to respect that," he noted.

Also Read: WTC Final: After a gruelling IPL season, is a fatigued Indian squad ready to face a fresh Australian unit?

Following a "breakdown" in his relationship with coach Mark Boucher, Du Plessis had given up on Test cricket. It had more to do, in Klusener's opinion, with how he handled his workload.

"Cricket has got to a point where there are other opportunities for you. You get to an age, you get opportunities that pay better or easier on the body, allow you to have more time at home."

Klusener hails Hardik Pandya as one of the best pace-bowling all rounders; shares his view on WTC Final snt

Mission 'IPL cricketer' from Tripura

The 51-year-old Klusener was introduced as Tripura's coaching advisor for the next domestic season on Saturday. According to Klusener, their objective will be a "success" if they can develop only one IPL or India cricket player from the northeastern state in his first formal media interview since joining the position.

"I want to leave a lasting impression. I like to take up challenges. If I can inspire one person to get into an IPL or the national team, then it will be a success," said Klusener, who has worked with Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and several other franchises as coach.

According to the terms of his contract, Klusener will work with Tripura for 100 days, coaching the team in age-group, women's, and Ranji Trophy cricket.

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