Star India cricketer Hardik Pandya not bowling for Mumbai Indians in the IPL is now a concern for the Indian coaches as well. A recent report in Cricbuzz says that coaches and selectors of the national side “feels the balance of the side gets upset with a one-dimensional” skills offered by Hardik Pandya.
The right-hander hasn’t bowled a single ball in the IPL since last season. He missed the first two games for MI in the UAE leg. The last time he bowled in a T20I was against Sri Lanka in July. It is also believed that Hardik Pandya may not start in the T20 World Cup of he is unable to contribute with the ball.
“The thinking, learnt to be shared by the selectors as well, is that Pandya cannot make the XI just for his batting and he was taken into the squad for his proven all-round abilities,” a report in Cricbuzz said.
Shardul Thakur, who is one of the three reserves in the T20 World Cup contingent, has been fit and in form with both ball and bat.
“With a fit and in-form Shardul Thakur among the standbys and Jayawardene admitting that there are issues with Pandya’s bowling, questions are certain to be raised with Pandya at some stage,” the report added.
Hardik Pandya has to justify his selection in the World Cup squad: MSK Prasad
Former chief selector MSK Prasad reckons Hardik Pandya has to “justify his selection” in India’s squad by bowling his quota of overs during the IPL. The right-hander has largely struggled with the bat as well in IPL 2021.
“He has regained his batting form which was good to see the other night (MI vs PBKS). I hope to see him bowl his quota of four overs in the last leg of the IPL and justify his selection in the World Cup squad,” MSK Prasad told Cricbuzz.
The selection committee can make changes in the squad before October 10; they can exercise that option later as well. The team will assemble in Dubai after the IPL final on October 15.
Meanwhile, it is also reported that the Indian coaches and other support staff members will leave for Dubai on October 8. As part of the International Cricket Council (ICC) bio-secure protocols for the World Cup, they will be required to undergo a six-day quarantine on arrival. The ICC has relaxed the quarantine clause for those coming in from another bio-bubble which means those currently part of the IPL bubble will not be required to isolate.