New Delhi, Feb 22: Young Hardik Pandya, who emerged as the find of the recently concluded T20 series against Sri Lanka at home, has already set the alarm bells ringing for Ajinkya Rahane, who has been India's prolific run-getter in every format of the game.
The young all-rounder could be the X-factor for Team India in the upcoming Asia Cup T20 and ICC World T20.
Pandya is a utility medium pacer and owns a reputation of hitting big shots, thus making him a perfect fit for MS Dhoni's existing T20 side. Though he has a long way to go.
We just had a glimpse of his batting prowess during the 2nd T20 game at Ranchi and if he continues doing so, then skipper Dhoni would be more than happy to retain him in the playing XI.
Virat Kohli's arrival back in the squad means Ajinkya Rahane would have to make way for the most consistent Indian batter. The stiff competition between every member in the squad suggests Rahane doesn't fits into any place, except batting at number 3.
Shikhar Dhawan's return to form against Sri Lanka has only cemented his position as an opening partner for irreplacible Rohit Sharma. Thus, Shikhar's return to form at just the right time has eaten up Rahane's opening batsman's position.
With Kohli batting at no. 3, followed by Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Hardik Pandya, there is actually no place for Rahane in the side.
Hardik Pandya under the able hands of Ricky Ponting, Sachin Tendulkar - who are the mentors of Pandya's IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, has transformed into a match-winner for his side. His cameos helped the side win several games, going down the wire.
And his ability to his big shots under pressure situation and from the very first delivery, definitely gives him an edge over Rahane.
Though Pandya still has a lot to prove on international platformin, but his performance in the IPL and domestic tournaments makes him a better option lower down the order.