India cricketer Dinesh Karthik feels all-rounder Hardik Pandya will be a key cog in India's wheel when the hosts begin the quest for their second title in the shortest format of the game in a couple of months.
Karthik reckons India is favourite to win the upcoming T20 World Cup because of the rich experience the young guns have after playing crunch matches in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
"I think it is 14 years that have gone by -- it's very interesting to know that it has been that long -- I think that also means 14 seasons of IPL, so basically, we have a lot of T20 experience in that team," Karthik said on Star Sports show Game Plan.
"Every guy there has played 150, if not 200 matches of T20, which should give them enough data to take from every time they had a big moment, and that's what you require, experience to handle those big moments and hence I have no doubt that they will qualify for the semi-finals.
"The question is, on that big day -- like it happened a few years ago in Mumbai -- somebody turns up and does well, what are you going to do someone special. And from India, through the tournament, if they have to find ways of pushing themselves, there are a lot of key players, but I would like to single out this man, who is in the middle of it all -- Hardik Pandya," he added.
Hardik has in recent times stuck to playing as a finisher both in the national team and Mumbai Indians however he did bowl in the recent white-ball series against Sri Lanka.
Karthik highlighted how Hardik is a main player of the side who can contribute with both bat and ball.
"He bats at No.6, he has a job to do every time he comes in, he has the potential to take the game away in the whiff of a breath -- that's how good he is. So, again with ball, he is very good with it, he is very handy, he can bowl at 85-87 mph, but also mix in the slower ones," said Karthik.
"Over the period of time, he has shown the mind -- what's between your ears they say -- to be very strong, very calculated and he is somebody who can come and deliver on slow wickets very well, and that's one of his strengths, so I am looking forward to him as a gun fielder as well -- we've got a few good fielders there.
"So, yeah, I think India has it in them overall. Fingers crossed, they go all the way," he added.
India will face Pakistan in their opening game of the T20 World Cup 2021 at the Dubai International Stadium on October 24.