India bowling coach Bharat Arun on Wednesday heaped praise on all-rounder Hardik Pandya and agreed that finding someone as good as him would be a very tough job for the team management. Hardik, who was not picked in the India squad for the World Test Championship final and five-match Test series versus England, last represented Team India in the longest format in 2018, during the tour of England. He has been battling a back injury since 2019 and recently, during the IPL, also picked up a shoulder niggle.

Arun agreed that finding someone as good as Pandya would be a very tough job. During an interaction with PTI, the 58-year-old said: I wish you could just wish and develop bowlers like that. Hardik is an outstanding talent, but unfortunately, he had to undergo a back operation, and then it’s not very easy to come back after that. He bowled against England, I thought he did a really good job. But, to sustain that we need to manage him well and build on his strength.

Arun also backed Shardul Thakur and believes the Palghar-born cricketer has what it takes to be the fast-bowling all-rounder that the team has needed ever since Hardik’s back injury. Arun said that while the selectors will have the last word on finding the next set of options, Thakur has certainly made a case for himself.

Shardul has proved he can be an all-rounder. What he did in Australia was fabulous, Arun said.

The two-Test old Thakur was mighty impressive in the only longest format game he played in the away series against Australia this year, picking up seven wickets and a half-century to boot in Brisbane.

So ideally, yes – we need to develop seam bowling all-rounder, there must be a few – in domestic cricket – because we are always on the circuit with the Indian team, we have not had an opportunity to look at the domestic all-rounders, he added.