Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag has been unimpressed by Virat Kohli’s excuse for not bowling Hardik Pandya in the second ODI against England in Pune. India could not defend 337 in the second ODI as England raced to a series-levelling victory by six wickets with 39 balls to spare. Virender Sehwag opined that Hardik Pandya has not had much of a workload since returning from an injury that the captain could not bowl him.
Indian captain Virat Kohli did not get the much-required support from his spinners in the middle overs as they could not contain Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow. Krunal Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav went wicketless in their 16 overs and gave away 156 runs along with plenty of sixes in them. Only Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Prasidh Krishna were amongst the wickets; however, the visitors were too good on the night. When asked Virat Kohli why Hardik Pandya, India’s sixth bowling option, did not bowl, the Indian captain responded by stating that they need to manage his body and workload.
Virender Sehwag conceded that since India does not play any matches in the next few months, it’s not justified to lose the ODI series to manage Hardik Pandya’s workload. The 104-Test veteran stated that as a specialist all-rounder, Pandya’s job has to include four or five overs. Sehwag admits that fielding for 50 overs does cause fatigue; however, the 27-year old delivering four or five overs should not make a massive difference.
“But India isn’t playing any cricket in the next few months! We only have the IPL next. So you are saying that we have no problem losing the ODI series because we had to manage Hardik Pandya’s workload. If his workload doesn’t include 4-5 overs then it’s wrong. He is trying to say that India is trying to manage the workload of every bowler and the same is for Hardik Pandya. But it also shouldn’t be the case that he isn’t bowling even a single over. Fielding for 50 overs also causes fatigue. So if he adds 4-5 overs to it, it shouldn’t make a huge difference on his workload,” Virender Sehwag told Cricbuzz.
I can understand if he is playing constantly and is playing every format: Virender Sehwag
Virender Sehwag further pointed out that since returning from injury, Hardik has not played a lot of cricket and bowled slightly in T20Is after sitting out for the Tests. The 42-year old observed that the 27-year old is not even an all-format cricketer and delivered a few overs in the shortest format. Simultaneously, Virender Sehwag considers the possibility that Hardik might have asked for a break to prevent any injury that may come after bowling in ODIs ahead of IPL 2021.
“I don’t know who decides that Hardik Pandya’s workload has become excessive. Since he has come back from his [back] surgery, he hasn’t played much cricket. He sat out in the Tests, played the 5 T20Is and bowled in 2-3 of those… so he hasn’t taken any load yet. I can understand if he is playing constantly and is playing every format but at the moment he has only bowled 4-4 overs in 3-4 T20I games. But yes, this is a possibility that he himself might have asked for a break from bowling in the ODIs to prevent any injuries before the IPL,” he added.