Ever since England’s Ben Stokes announced his retirement from One Day Internationals (ODIs), several former cricketers, including Pakistan legend Wasim Akram have suggested that the 50-over format is dying a slow death. Joining the debate, ex-India head coach Ravi Shastri made a massive prediction about Hardik Pandya, claiming the 2023 World Cup in India could be the talismanic all-rounder’s last tournament in the format.

Ravi Shastri insisted that Hardik Pandya enjoys playing T20s more than the ODIs, and that’s why to manage his workload, he could quit the 50-over format after next year’s World Cup, which will take place in India.

“50-over format might be pushed back but it can still survive if you focus just on the World Cup. From the ICC’s point of view, paramount importance should be given to World Cups, whether it is T20 World Cup or 50-over World Cup, the bucks have to increase. Test cricket will always remain because of the importance it brings to the game. You have players already choosing what formats they want to play. Take a Hardik Pandya. He wants to play T20 cricket and he is very clear in his mind that ‘I do not want to play anything else,” Ravi Shastri said on Sky Sports.

“He will play the 50-over cricket because there is a World Cup in India next year. After that, you might see him going from that as well. You will see a similar thing happening with other players, they will start choosing formats, they have every right to,” Ravi Shastri added.

“The main issue that we have to look at right now is the reality, what is happening right now. There are things that are being said by former players, someone like me, 5-10 years ago, that is already happening. If you are not going to see the reality, then it is going to give you the biggest knockout punch that you have ever got. It is not just administrators who run the world game, but administrations who run different boards around the world, they have got to see the reality, the volume of cricket and what is the demand, go with the economics of the sport,” Ravi Shastri stated.

“It is franchise cricket that is ruling the roost and it will rule the roost. So do not wait for it to happen, then you get on your high horse and ask what should we do? It would be too late, it is going to happen, there is going to be franchise cricket that is going to rule the roost around the world. Then how will you have international cricket? You will have to cut the volume, you have to cut bilateral cricket, and go in that direction. You will never be able to stop different players going and playing for different franchises,” Ravi Shastri concluded.

India all-rounder Hardik Pandya has been on a hot streak ever since he led the debutants Gujarat Titans (GT) to the Indian Premier League (IPL) title in their maiden season in the high-profile competition.

Since making his national comeback after a seven-month hiatus in June, Hardik Pandya has impressed almost everyone with his performances for Team India.

Last month, the 28-year-old cricketer played a pivotal role in the T20I series against South Africa at home before stepping up with both bat and ball in the recent ODI series against England.

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Such was Hardik Pandya’s effectiveness in both the departments of the game that he ended up finishing as the second-highest wicket-taker and second-highest run-scorer.

Before the ODI series, Hardik Pandya also participated in the T20I series between England and India. He was instrumental in India’s 2-1 series victory in the shortest format as well as he became the first Indian player to take four wickets and hit a fifty in a T20I match.

He achieved the feat after making 51 off 33 deliveries and picking 4/33 in the first T20I against England in Southampton.

Hardik Pandya’s transformation, meanwhile, took many ex-Indian cricketers by surprise as many of them were bowled by his new avatar.

Ex-India batter Sanjay Manjrekar claimed that Hardik Pandya was a “changed” man now and heaped rich praise on him for his “maturity”.

“Absolutely, Hardik Pandya is a completely changed guy. First of all, picking him as one of their first players, before that his fitness was a problem, and his batting was an issue for the earlier franchise. Not only did they pick him, and back him as one of their marquee players they gave him the captaincy,” Sanjay Manjrekar told Sports18.

“Just the way the league turned out for him. Hardik Pandya is a changed man now, there’s a lot of maturity, responsibility and ambition as well. I see a sense of ambition coming into him. And once you have that, wanting to grow within Indian Cricket then there’s tremendous motivation. He’s also addressing himself in the third person now. Hardik Pandya has arrived,” Sanjay Manjrekar signed off.