Cricketer turned commentator Aakash Chopra feels that all-rounder Hardik Pandya could be dropped from the Indian team for the T20 World Cup.
On September 9, the Indian board announced a 15-member preliminary squad led by skipper Virat Kohli to participate in the mega event.
Hardik Pandya as a bowling option looks uncertain for the Indian team
The squad includes only three frontline pacers in the name of Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami with Pandya was expected to bowl as the sixth bowler.
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 mentioned that Pandya will bowl his full quota of overs in the showpiece event.
Hardik Pandya might not be in the Indian team: Aakash Chopra
Chopra is of the opinion that CSK all-rounder Shardul Thakur could be the likeliest replacement for Pandya in the Indian team.
“When Hardik Pandya was picked in the 15 for the T20 World Cup, the selectors assumed he would be bowling. That’s why they named only three fast bowlers in the squad. Hardik was supposed to be used as the fourth bowler,” Chopra said on his Youtube Channel.
“I am told, I don’t know for sure, that the selectors were given a guarantee Hardik would start bowling soon. But, Rohit Sharma recently confirmed that he hasn’t bowled a single ball yet. So, he’s not bowling, and his batting form is absolutely absent.”
“He (Hardik) might not be in the team. Things can change radically. Six months back he was our most valuable asset. But now, it won’t be a surprise if Shardul Thakur comes in.”The balance of the side has been affected because Bhuveshwar Kumar’s form is 50:50. That leaves India with only Bumrah and Shami,” he added.
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.