Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) mulls over adding a pace bowler in India’s preliminary squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
On September 9, the Indian board announced a 15-member preliminary squad led by skipper Virat Kohli to participate in the mega event. The squad includes only three frontline pacers in the name of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami with all-rounder Hardik Pandya was expected to bowl as the sixth bowler.
Hardik Pandya as a bowling option looks uncertain for the Indian team
But there is uncertainty looming over the 28-year-old player’s fitness and ability to bow in the T20 World Cup as he did not bowl a single over in the league stage of IPL 2021 despite national chief selector Chetan Sharma mentioning that Pandya will bowl his full quota of overs in the showpiece event.
According to a BCCI official either of CSK players Deepak Chahar or Shardul Thakur, who are amongst the three reserved players named in the squad, could be drafted in the main squad to fill the void of a pace bowler.
“Indian team is at least one fast bowler short in the main squad of 15. They have two experienced campaigners in Shardul Thakur, who is also a handy bowling all-rounder and Deepak Chahar, who has shown his batting prowess in Sri Lanka in the stand byes.
“So in case Hardik is not able to bowl, one of the two can be fitted in by the Committee,” a senior BCCI source told news agency PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Hardik Pandya might be able to bowl in the coming weeks: Rohit Sharma
Pandya didn’t play in the first two games for Mumbai Indians after the IPL 2021 resumed as head coach Mahela Jayawardene cited that the all-rounder was suffering from a niggle. Mumbai Indians skipper Rohit Sharma said that Pandya is being examined by the doctors and physios and might be able to bowl in the coming week.
“In terms of his (Hardik) bowling, the physios, trainers are working. He hasn’t bowled a single ball yet. We wanted to take one match at a time and see where he stands,” Rohit said after MI’s final IPL match.
“He is getting better day by day. In the next week or so, he might be able to bowl, who knows? Only the doctors and physios will be able to give an update on that,” he added.
Pandya has scalped 42 wickets from 49 matches for India in the shortest format at an economy rate of 8.18.
The BCCI has five more days to make any change to the squad (other than injury). The ICC has allowed all the Super 12 teams a window of one week till October 15 to make any required change.