Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur. Photo- Getty
Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur. Photo- Getty

The Indian Express reported that the team management is unlikely to play all-rounder Hardik Pandya as a pure batter if he doesn’t get fit enough to bowl atleast a couple of over every game in the ongoing T20 World Cup 2021. This comes after India’s 10-wicket loss to Pakistan in the opening game of the tournament.

Hardik Pandya has not bowled a single over for a long time. He bowled a handful of overs against England in white-ball series at home. He didn’t bowl in IPL 2021 at all thanks to his bad back and a shoulder injury as well, and despite these, was named in the Indian T20 World Cup 2021 squad based on his big-hitting and finishing abilities.

Hardik Pandya
Hardik Pandya. Credits: IPL

Shardul Thakur Being Looked At Possible Replacement For Hardik Pandya

BCCI recently shared photos of Hardik Pandya bowling in the nets on Wednesday and will be monitored during practice sessions in the lead-up to India’s next game against New Zealand on Sunday. If the team management is convinced about his bowling fitness, only then will he be included in the team.

The team management is keeping a close eye on Shardul Thakur, who replaced Akshar Patel in the main squad ahead of the tournament. Thakur is tipped to be Pandya’s replacement if the latter fails to make the cut.

Shardul Thakur, Indian Bowler
Shardul Thakur (Image Credit: Twitter)

After a long gap, Pandya, ultimately bowled at the nets during India’s training session yesterday. Bowling in high-intensity matches, however, is a different ball game and the team management needs to be convinced about his match readiness, and Pandya is dealing with a bad back and a shoulder niggle as well.

Yet, while picking the squad for the ICC event, national selector Chetan Sharma had backed him to bowl his overs at the T20 World Cup.

Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli (PHoto- Twitter)
Hardik Pandya and Virat Kohli (Photo- Twitter)

Even captain Virat Kohli tried to put up a brave front saying that no.6 is a specialist position the team had absolutely no problem playing Pandya solely as a batsman, gaining from his death-overs hitting skills. But his batting form in the IPL 2021 was nothing to write about and even if he starts bowling, he will not be like earlier, bowling at briskly late 130 kph.

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